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THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 
AND OTHER SKETCHES 



THE 

APPLE-TREE TABLE 

AND OTHER SKETCHES 
BY 

HERMAN MELVILLE 

With an Introductory Note by 
HENRY CHAPIN 



PRINCETON 
PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS 

LONDON : HUMPHREY MILFORD 
OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS 

MCMXXII 



Copyrighted and Published 192-2 by Princeton rnirertity Presx 
Printed by the Princeton I -nirerxiti/ Pre#x, Princeton, U. $. A. 



Introductory Note 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ /M A i /\l 

Y //A 1 various prose sketches here reprinted 
were first published by Melville, some in 
Harper s and some in Putnam s magazines, 
during the years from 1850, to 1856. "Haw 
thorne and His Mosses " the only piece of 
criticism in this collection, is particularly in 
teresting viewed in the light of Melville s 
friendship with Hawthorne while they were 
neighbors at Pitts field, .Massachusetts. The 
other sketches cover a variety of homely sub 
jects treated by Melville with a fresh humor, 
richly phrased and curiously personal. Longer 
and in some ways more ambitious prose pieces 
written about this same time have been col 
lected under the title of c( Piazza Tales" but 
none of the sketches which follow have hereto 
fore been gathered into a book. This has now 
been done not only to answer a growing de 
mand for accessible reprints of Melville s work 
but also in response to the literary appeal of 
the sketches themselves. The author s phrase 
ology and punctuation have, of course, been 
followed exactly. H. C. 



[5] 



505445 



CONTENTS 

THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 9 

HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 53 

JIMMY ROSE 87 

I AND MY CHIMNEY 109 

PARADISE OF BACHELORS AND 

THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 167 

COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO 211 

THE FIDDLER 257 

POOR MAN S PUDDING AND 

RICH MAN S CRUMBS 271 

THE HAPPY FAILURE 301 



THE GEES 



317 



[7] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

OR ORIGINAL SPIRITUAL 
MAXIFESTA TIONS 

WHEN I first saw the table, dingy and 
dusty, in the furthest corner of the old 
hopper-shaped garret, and set out with broken, 
be-crusted old purple vials and flasks, and a 
ghostly, dismantled old quarto, it seemed just 
such a necromantic little old table as might have 
belonged to Friar Bacon. Two plain features 
it had, significant of conjurations and charms 
the circle and tripod; the slab being round, 
supported by a twisted little pillar, which, 
about a foot from the bottom, sprawled out 
into three crooked legs, terminating in three 
cloven feet. A very satanic-looking little old 
table, indeed. 

In order to convey a better idea of it, some 
account may as well be given of the place it 
came from. A very old garret of a very old 
house in an old-fashioned quarter of one of the 
oldest towns in America. This garret had been 
closed for years. It was thought to be haunted ; 



[9] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

a rumor, I confess, which, however absurd (in 
my opinion) , I did not, at the time of purchas 
ing, very vehemently contradict ; since, not im 
probably, it tended to place the property the 
more conveniently within my means. 

It was, therefore, from no dread of the re 
puted goblins aloft, that, for five years after 
first taking up my residence in the house, I 
never entered the garret. There was no special 
inducement. The roof was well slated, and 
thoroughly tight. The company that insured 
the house, waived all visitation of the garret; 
why, then, should the owner be over-anxious 
about it ? particularly, as he had no use for it, 
the house having ample room below. Then the 
key of the stair-door leading to it was lost. The 
lock was a huge old-fashioned one. To open it, 
a smith would have to be called; an unneces 
sary trouble, I thought. Besides, though I had 
taken some care to keep my two daughters in 
ignorance of the rumor above-mentioned, still, 
they had, by some means, got an inkling of it, 
and were well enough pleased to see the en 
trance to the haunted ground closed. It might 
have remained so for a still longer time, had it 
not been for my accidentally discovering, in a 

[10] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

corner of our glen-like, old, terraced garden, 
a large and curious key, very old and rusty, 
which I at once concluded must belong to the 
garret-door a supposition which, upon trial, 
proved correct. Now, the possession of a key to 
anything, at once provokes a desire to unlock 
and explore ; and this, too, from a mere instinct 
of gratification, irrespective of any particular 
benefit to accrue. 

Behold me, then, turning the rusty old key, 
and going up, alone, into the haunted garret. 
It embraced the entire area of the mansion. Its 
ceiling was formed by the roof, showing the 
rafters and boards on which the slates were laid. 
The roof shedding the water four ways from a 
high point in the centre, the space beneath was 
much like that of a general s marquee only 
midway broken by a labyrinth of timbers, for 
braces, from which waved innumerable cob 
webs, that, of a summer s noon, shone like Bag 
dad tissues and gauzes. On every hand, some 
strange insect was seen, flying, or running, or 
creeping, on rafter and floor. 

Under the apex of the roof was a rude, nar 
row, decrepit step-ladder, something like a 
Gothic pulpit-stairway, leading to a pulpit- 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

like platform, from which a still narrower lad 
der a sort of Jacob s ladder led somewhat 
higher to the lofty scuttle. The slide of this 
scuttle was about two feet square, all in one 
piece, furnishing a massive frame for a single 
small pane of glass, inserted into it like a bull s- 
eye. The light of the garret came from this sole 
source, filtrated through a dense curtain of 
cobwebs. Indeed, the whole stairs, and plat 
form, and ladder, were festooned, and carpet 
ed, and canopied with cobwebs; which, in 
funereal accumulations, hung, too, from the 
groined, murky ceiling, like the Carolina moss 
in the cypress forest. In these cobwebs, swung, 
as in aerial catacombs, myriads of all tribes of 
mummied insects. 

Climbing the stairs to the platform, and 
pausing there, to recover my breath, a curious 
scene was presented. The sun was about half 
way up. Piercing the little sky- light, it sloping- 
ly bored a rainbowed tunnel clear across the 
darkness of the garret. Here, millions of but 
terfly moles were swarming. Against the 
sky-light itself, with a cymbal-like buzzing, 
thousands of insects clustered in a golden mob. 

Wishing to shed a clearer light through the 

[12] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

place, I sought to withdraw the scuttle-slide. 
But no sign of latch or hasp was visible. Only 
after long peering, did I discover a little pad 
lock, imbedded, like an oyster at the bottom of 
the sea, amid matted masses of weedy webs, 
chrysalides, and insectivorous eggs. Brushing 
these away, I found it locked. With a crooked 
nail, I tried to pick the lock, when scores of 
small ants and flies, half-torpid, crawled forth 
from the keyhole, and, feeling the warmth of 
the sun in the pane, began frisking around me. 
Others appeared. Presently, I was overrun by 
them. As if incensed at this invasion of their re 
treat, countless bands darted up from below, 
beating about my head, like hornets. At last, 
with a sudden jerk, I burst open the scuttle. 
And ah! what a change. As from the gloom of 
the grave and the companionship of worms, 
men shall at last rapturously rise into the liv 
ing greenness and glory-immortal, so, from my 
cobwebbed old garret, I thrust forth my head 
into the balmy air, and found myself hailed by 
the verdant tops of great trees, growing in the 
little garden below trees, whose leaves soared 
high above my topmost slate. 

Refreshed by this outlook, I turned inward 

[13] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

to behold the garret, now unwontedly lit up. 
Such humped masses of obsolete furniture. An 
old escritoire, from whose pigeon-holes sprang 
mice, and from whose secret drawers came 
subterranean squeakings, as from chipmunks 
holes in the woods; and broken-down old 
chairs, with strange carvings, which seemed fit 
to seat a conclave of conjurors. And a rusty, 
iron-bound chest, lidless, and packed full of 
mildewed old documents ; one of which, with a 
faded red ink-blot at the end, looked as if it 
might have been the original bond that Doctor 
Faust gave to Mephistopheles. And, finally, in 
the least lighted corner of all, where was a pro 
fuse litter of indescribable old rubbish among 
which was a broken telescope, and a celestial 
globe staved in stood the little old table, one 
hoofed foot, like that of the Evil One, dimly re 
vealed through the cobwebs. What a thick 
dust, half paste, had settled upon the old vials 
and flasks ; how their once liquid contents had 
caked, and how strangely looked the mouldy 
old book in the middle Cotton Mather s 
.Ifagnalia. 

Table and book I removed below, and had 
the dislocations of the one and the tatters of 

[14] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

the other repaired. I resolved to surround this 
sad little hermit of a table, so long banished 
from genial neighborhood, with all the kindly 
influences of warm urns, warm fires, and warm 
hearts, little dreaming what all this warm nurs 
ing would hatch. 

I was pleased by the discovery that the table 
was not of the ordinary mahogany, but of ap 
ple-tree-wood, which age had darkened nearly 
to walnut. It struck me as being an appro 
priate piece of furniture for our cedar-parlor 
so called, from its being, after the old fash 
ion, wainscoted with that wood. The table s 
round slab, or orb, was so contrived as to be 
readily changed from a horizontal to a per 
pendicular position ; so that, when not in use, it 
could be snugly placed in a corner. For myself, 
wife, and two daughters, I thought it would 
make a nice little breakfast and tea-table. It 
was just the thing for a whist-table, too. And I 
also pleased myself with the idea that it would 
make a famous reading-table. 

In these fancies, my wife, for one, took little 
interest. She disrelished the idea of so unfash 
ionable and indigent-looking a stranger as the 
table intruding into the polished society of 

[15] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

more prosperous furniture. But when, after 
seeking its fortune at the cabinet-maker s, the 
table came home, varnished over, bright as a 
guinea, no one exceeded my wife in a gracious 
reception of it. It was advanced to an honora 
ble position in the cedar-parlor. 

But, as for my daughter Julia, she never got 
over her strange emotions upon first acciden 
tally encountering the table. Unfortunately, it 
was just as I was in the act of bringing it down 
from the garret. Holding it by the slab, I was 
carrying it before me, one cobwebbed hoof 
thrust out, which weird object at a turn of the 
stairs, suddenly touched my girl, as she was 
ascending ; whereupon, turning, and seeing no 
living creature for I was quite hidden behind 
my shield seeing nothing indeed, but the ap 
parition of the Evil One s foot, as it seemed, 
she cried out, and there is no knowing what 
might have followed, had I not immediately 
spoken. 

From the impression thus produced, my 
poor girl, of a very nervous temperament, was 
long recovering. Superstitiously grieved at my 
violating the forbidden solitude above, she as 
sociated in her mind the cloven-footed table 

[16] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

with the reputed goblins there. She besought 
me to give up the idea of domesticating the 
table. Nor did her sister fail to add her entreat 
ies. Between my girls there was a constitution 
al sympathy. But my matter-of-fact wife had 
now declared in the table s favor. She was 
not wanting in firmness and energy. To her, 
the prejudices of Julia and Anna were sim 
ply ridiculous. It was her maternal duty, she 
thought, to drive such weakness away. By de 
grees, the girls, at breakfast and tea, were in 
duced to sit down with us at the table. Contin 
ual proximity was not without effect. By and 
by, they would sit pretty tranquilly, though 
Julia, as much as possible, avoided glancing at 
the hoofed feet, and, when at this I smiled, she 
would look at me seriously as much as to say, 
Ah, papa, you, too, may yet do the same. She 
prophesied that, in connection with the table, 
something strange would yet happen. But I 
would only smile the more, while my wife in 
dignantly chided. 

Meantime, I took particular satisfaction in 
my table, as a night reading-table. At a ladies 
fair, I bought me a beautifully worked read 
ing-cushion, and, with elbow leaning thereon, 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

and hand shading my eyes from the light, spent 
many a long hour nobody by, but the queer 
old book I had brought down from the garret. 

All went well, till the incident now about 
to be given an incident, be it remembered, 
which, like every other in this narration, hap 
pened long before the time of the "Fox Girls." 

It was late on a Saturday night in Decem 
ber. In the little old cedar-parlor, before the 
little old apple-tree table, I was sitting up, as 
usual, alone. I had made more than one effort 
to get up and go to bed; but I could not. I 
was, in fact, under a sort of fascination. Some 
how, too, certain reasonable opinions of mine, 
seemed not so reasonable as before. I felt ner 
vous. The truth was, that though, in my pre 
vious night-readings, Cotton Mather had but 
amused me, upon this particular night he terri 
fied me. A thousand times I had laughed at 
such stories. Old wives fables, I thought, how 
ever entertaining. But now, how different. 
They began to put on the aspect of reality. 
]\ r ow, for the first time it struck me that this 
was no romantic Mrs. Radcliffe, who had writ 
ten the . Ifagnalia; but a practical, hard-work 
ing, earnest, upright man, a learned doctor, 

[18] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

too, as well as a good Christian and orthodox 
clergyman. What possible motive could such 
a man have to deceive? His style had all the 
plainness and unpoetic boldness of truth. In 
the most straightforward way, he laid before 
me detailed accounts of New England witch 
craft, each important item corroborated by 
respectable townsfolk, and, of not a few of 
the most surprising, he himself had been 
eye-witness. Cotton Mather testified himself 
whereof he had seen. But, is it possible? I asked 
myself. Then I remembered that Dr. Johnson, 
the matter-of-fact compiler of a dictionary, 
had been a believer in ghosts, besides many 
other sound, worthy men. Yielding to the fas 
cination, I read deeper and deeper into the 
night. At last, I found myself starting at the 
least chance sound, and yet wishing that it 
were not so very still. 

A tumbler of warm punch stood by my side, 
with which beverage, in a moderate way, I was 
accustomed to treat myself every Saturday 
night ; a habit, however, against which my good 
wife had long remonstrated; predicting that, 
unless I gave it up, I would yet die a miserable 
sot. Indeed, I may here mention that, on the 

[19] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

Sunday mornings following my Saturday 
nights, I had to be exceedingly cautious how I 
gave way to the slightest impatience at any ac 
cidental annoyance; because such impatience 
was sure to be quoted against me as evidence of 
the melancholy consequences of over-night in 
dulgence. As for my wife, she, never sipping 
punch, could yield to any little passing peev 
ishness as much as she pleased. 

But, upon the night in question, I found my 
self wishing that, instead of my usual mild 
mixture, I had concocted some potent draught. 
I felt the need of stimulus. I wanted something 
to hearten me against Cotton Mather dole 
ful, ghostly, ghastly Cotton Mather. I grew 
more and more nervous. Nothing but fascina 
tion kept me from fleeing the room. The can 
dles burnt low, with long snuffs, and huge 
winding-sheets. But I durst not raise the snuf 
fers to them. It would make too much noise. 
And yet, previously, I had been wishing for 
noise. I read on and on. My hair began to have 
a sensation. My eyes felt strained ; they pained 
me. I was conscious of it. I knew I was injur 
ing them. I knew I should rue this abuse of 
them next day ; but I read on and on. I could 

[20] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

not help it. The skinny hand was on me. 

All at once Hark ! 

My hair felt like growing grass. 

A faint sort of inward rapping or rasping 
a strange, inexplicable sound, mixed with a 
slight kind of wood-pecking or ticking. 

Tick! Tick! 

Yes, it was a faint sort of ticking. 

I looked up at my great Strasbourg clock in 
one corner. It was not that. The clock had 
stopped. 

Tick! Tick! 

Was it my watch? 

According to her usual practice at night, my 
wife had, upon retiring, carried my watch off 
to our chamber to hang it up on its nail. 

I listened with all my ears. 

Tick! Tick! 

Was it a death-tick in the wainscot? 

With a tremulous step I went all round the 
room, holding my ear to the wainscot. 

No ; it came not from the wainscot. 

Tick! Tick! 

I shook myself. I was ashamed of my 
fright. 

Tick! Tick! 

[21] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

It grew in precision and audibleness. I re 
treated from the wainscot. It seemed advanc 
ing to meet me. 

I looked round and round, but saw nothing, 
only one cloven foot of the little apple-tree 
table. 

Bless me, said I to myself, with a sudden re 
vulsion, it must be very late ; ain t that my wife 
calling me? Yes, yes; I must to bed. I suppose 
all is locked up. ]S T o need to go the rounds. 

The fascination had departed, though the 
fear had increased. With trembling hands, put 
ting Cotton Mather out of sight, I soon found 
myself, candlestick in hand, in my chamber, 
with a peculiar rearward feeling, such as some 
truant dog may feel. In my eagerness to get 
well into the chamber, I stumbled against a 
chair. 

"Do try and make less noise, my dear," said 
my wife from the bed. 

"You have been taking too much of that 
punch, I fear. That sad habit grows on you. 
Ah, that I should ever see you thus staggering 
at night into your chamber." 

"Wife," hoarsely whispered I, "there is is 
something tick-ticking in the cedar-parlor." 

[22] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

"Poor old man quite out of his mind I 
knew it would be so. Come to bed; come and 
sleep it off." 

"Wife, wife!" 

"Do, do come to bed. I forgive you. I won t 
remind you of it to-morrow. But you must give 
up the punch-drinking, my dear. It quite gets 
the better of you." 

"Don t exasperate me," I cried now, truly 
beside myself; "I will quit the house!" 

"No, no! not in that state. Come to bed, my 
dear. I won t say another word." 

The next morning, upon waking, my wife 
said nothing about the past night s affair, and, 
feeling no little embarrassment myself, espe 
cially at having been thrown into such a panic, 
I also was silent. Consequently, my wife must 
still have ascribed my singular conduct to a 
mind disordered, not by ghosts, but by punch. 
For my own part, as I lay in bed watching the 
sun in the panes, I began to think that much 
midnight reading of Cotton Mather was not 
good for man; that it had a morbid influence 
upon the nerves, and gave rise to hallucina 
tions. I resolved to put Cotton Mather perma 
nently aside. That done, I had no fear of any 

[23] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

return of the ticking. Indeed, I began to think 
that what seemed the ticking in the room, was 
nothing but a sort of buzzing in my ear. 

As is her wont, my wife having preceded me 
in rising, I made a deliberate and agreeable 
toilet. Aware that most disorders of the mind 
have their origin in the state of the body, I 
made vigorous use of the flesh-brush, and 
bathed my head with New England rum, a 
specific once recommended to me as good for 
buzzing in the ear. Wrapped in my dressing 
gown, with cravat nicely adjusted, and finger 
nails neatly trimmed, I complacently descend 
ed to the little cedar-parlor to breakfast. 

What was my amazement to find my wife on 
her knees, rummaging about the carpet nigh 
the little apple-tree table, on which the morn 
ing meal was laid, while my daughters, Julia 
and Anna, were running about the apartment 
distracted. 

"Oh, papa, papa! " cried Julia, hurrying up 
to me. "I knew it would be so. The table, the 
table!" 

"Spirits! spirits!" cried Anna, standing far 
away from it, with pointed finger. 

"Silence! " cried my wife. "How can I hear 

[24] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

it, if you make such a noise? Be still. Come 
here, husband; was this the ticking you spoke 
of? Why don t you move? Was this it? Here, 
kneel down and listen to it. Tick, tick, tick ! 
don t you hear it now?" 

"I do, I do," cried I, while my daughters be 
sought us both to come away from the spot. 

Tick, tick, tick! 

Right from under the snowy cloth, and the 
cheerful urn, and the smoking milk-toast, the 
unaccountable ticking was heard. 

"Ain t there a fire in the next room, Julia," 
said I, "let us breakfast there, my dear," turn 
ing to my wife "let us go leave the table- 
tell Biddy to remove the things." 

And so saying I was moving towards the 
door in high self-possession, when my wife in 
terrupted me. 

"Before I quit this room, I will see into this 
ticking," she said with energy. 

"It is something that can be found out, de 
pend upon it. I don t believe in spirits, especial 
ly at breakfast-time. Biddy! Biddy! Here, 
carry these things back to the kitchen," hand 
ing the urn. Then, sweeping off the cloth, the 
little table lay bare to the eye. 

[25] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

"It s the table, the table! " cried Julia. 

"Nonsense," said my wife, "Who ever heard 
of a ticking table? It s on the floor. Biddy! 
Julia! Anna! move everything out of the room 
table and all. Where are the tack-hammers?" 

"Heavens, mamma you are not going to 
take up the carpet?" screamed Julia. 

"Here s the hammers, marm," said Biddy, 
advancing tremblingly. 

"Hand them to me, then," cried my wife ; for 
poor Biddy was, at long gun-distance, holding 
them out as if her mistress had the plague. 

"Now, husband, do you take up that side of 
the carpet, and I will this." Down on her knees 
she then dropped, while I followed suit. 

The carpet being removed, and the ear ap 
plied to the naked floor, not the slightest tick 
ing could be heard. 

"The table after all, it is the table," cried 
my wife. "Biddy, bring it back." 

"Oh no, marm, not I, please, marm," sobbed 
Biddy. 

"Foolish creature! Husband, do you bring 

it." 

"My dear," said I, "we have plenty of other 
tables; why be so particular?" 

[26] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

"Where is that table?" cried my wife, con 
temptuously, regardless of my gentle remon 
strance. 

"In the wood-house, marm. I put it away as 
far as ever I could, marm," sobbed Biddy. 

"Shall I go to the wood-house for it, or will 
you?" said my wife, addressing me in a fright 
ful, businesslike manner. 

Immediately I darted out of the door, and 
found the little apple-tree table, upside down, 
in one of my chip-bins. I hurriedly returned 
with it, and once more my wife examined it at 
tentively. Tick, tick, tick ! Yes, it was the table. 

"Please, marm," said Biddy, now entering 
the room, with hat and shawl "please, marm, 
will you pay me my wages? " 

"Take your hat and shawl off directly," said 
my wife; "set this table again." 

"Set it," roared I, in a passion, "set it, or I ll 
go for the police." 

"Heavens! heavens!" cried my daughters, 
in one breath. "What will become of us! 
Spirits! spirits!" 

"Will you set the table? " cried I, advancing 
upon Biddy. 

[27] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

"I will, I will yes, marm yes, master I 
will, I will. Spirits! Holy Vargin!" 

"Now, husband," said my wife, "I am con 
vinced that, whatever it is that causes this tick 
ing, neither the ticking nor the table can hurt 
us ; for we are all good Christians, I hope. I am 
determined to find out the cause of it, too, 
which time and patience will bring to light. I 
shall breakfast on no other table but this, so 
long as we live in this house. So, sit down, now 
that all things are ready again, and let us quiet 
ly breakfast. My dears," turning to Julia and 
Anna, "go to your room, and return composed. 
Let me have no more of this childishness." 

Upon occasion my wife was mistress in her 
house. 

During the meal, in vain was conversation 
started again and again ; in vain my wife said 
something brisk to infuse into others an anima 
tion akin to her own. Julia and Anna, with 
heads bowed over their tea-cups, were still lis 
tening for the tick. I confess, too, that their ex 
ample was catching. But, for the time, nothing 
was heard. Either the ticking had died quite 
away, or else, slight as it was, the increasing 
uproar of the street, with the general hum of 

[28] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

day so contrasted with the repose of night and 
early morning, smothered the sound. At the 
lurking inquietude of her companions, my wife 
was indignant; the more so, as she seemed to 
glory in her own exemption from panic. When 
breakfast was cleared away she took my watch, 
and, placing it on the table, addressed the sup 
posed spirits in it, with a jocosely defiant air: 

"There, tick away, let us see who can tick 
loudest!" 

All that day, while abroad, I thought of the 
mysterious table. Could Cotton Mather speak 
true? Were there spirits? And would spirits 
haunt a tea-table? Would the Evil One dare 
show his cloven foot in the bosom of an inno 
cent family ? I shuddered when I thought that 
I myself, against the solemn warnings of my 
daughters, had wilfully introduced the cloven 
foot there. Yea, three cloven feet. But, towards 
noon, this sort of feeling began to wear off. The 
continual rubbing against so many practical 
people in the street, brushed such chimeras 
away from me. I remembered that I had not 
acquitted myself very intrepidly either on the 
previous night or in the morning. I resolved to 
regain the good opinion of my wife. 

[29] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

To evince my hardihood the more signally, 
when tea was dismissed, and the three rubbers 
of whist had been played, and no ticking had 
been heard which the more encouraged me 
I took my pipe, and, saying that bed-time had 
arrived for the rest, drew my chair towards the 
fire, and, removing my slippers, placed my feet 
on the fender, looking as calm and composed as 
old Democritus in the tombs of Abdera, when 
one midnight the mischievous little boys of the 
town tried to frighten that sturdy philosopher 
with spurious ghosts. 

And I thought to myself, that the worthy 
old gentleman had set a good example to all 
times in his conduct on that occasion. For, 
when at the dead hour, intent on his studies, he 
heard the strange sounds, he did not so much 
as move his eyes from his page, only simply 
said: "Boys, little boys, go home. This is no 
place for you. You will catch cold here." The 
philosophy of which words lies here : that they 
imply the foregone conclusion, that any possi 
ble investigation of any possible spiritual phe 
nomena was absurd ; that upon the first face of 
such things, the mind of a sane man instinc 
tively affirmed them a humbug, unworthy the 

[30] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

least attention; more especially if such phe 
nomena appear in tombs, since tombs are pe 
culiarly the place of silence, lifelessness, and 
solitude ; for which cause, by the way, the old 
man, as upon the occasion in question, made 
the tombs of Abdera his place of study. 

Presently I was alone, and all was hushed. 
I laid down my pipe, not feeling exactly tran 
quil enough now thoroughly to enjoy it. Tak 
ing up one of the newspapers, I began, in a 
nervous, hurried sort of way, to read by the 
light of a candle placed on a small stand drawn 
close to the fire. As for the apple-tree table, 
having lately concluded that it was rather too 
low for a reading-table, I thought best not to 
use it as such that night. But it stood not very 
distant in the middle of the room. 

Try as I would, I could not succeed much at 
reading. Somehow I seemed all ear and no eye ; 
a condition of intense auricular suspense. But 
ere long it was broken. 

Tick! tick! tick! 

Though it was not the first time I had heard 
that sound; nay, though I had made it my par 
ticular business on this occasion to wait for that 
sound, nevertheless, when it came, it seemed 

[31] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

unexpected, as if a cannon had boomed 
through the window. 

Tick! tick! tick! 

I sat stock still for a time, thoroughly to 
master, if possible, my first discomposure. 
Then rising, I looked pretty steadily at the 
table ; went up to it pretty steadily ; took hold 
of it pretty steadily ; but let it go pretty quick 
ly; then paced up and down, stopping every 
moment or two, with ear pricked to listen. 
Meantime, within me, the contest between 
panic and philosophy remained not wholly 
decided. 

Tick! tick! tick! 

With appalling distinctness the ticking now 
rose on the night. 

My pulse fluttered my heart beat. I hardly 
know what might not have followed, had not 
Democritus just then come to the rescue. For 
shame, said I to myself, what is the use of so 
fine an example of philosophy, if it cannot be 
followed? Straightway I resolved to imitate it, 
even to the old sage s occupation and attitude. 

Resuming my chair and paper, with back 
presented to the table, I remained thus for a 
time, as if buried in study, when, the ticking 

[32] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

still continuing, I drawled out, in as indifferent 
and dryly jocose a way as I could; "Come, 
come, Tick, my boy, fun enough for to-night." 

Tick! tick! tick! 

There seemed a sort of jeering defiance in 
the ticking now. It seemed to exult over the 
poor affected part I was playing. But much as 
the taunt stung me, it only stung me into per 
sistence. I resolved not to abate one whit in my 
mode of address. 

"Come, come, you make more and more 
noise, Tick, my boy ; too much of a joke time 
to have done." 

No sooner said than the ticking ceased. 
Never was responsive obedience more exact. 
For the life of me, I could not help turning 
round upon the table, as one would upon some 
reasonable being, when could I believe my 
senses ? I saw something moving, or wriggling, 
or squirming upon the slab of the table. It shone 
like a glow-worm. Unconsciously, I grasped 
the poker that stood at hand. But bethinking 
me how absurd to attack a glow-worm with a 
poker, I put it down. How long I sat spell 
bound and staring there, with my body pre 
sented one way and my face another, I cannot 

[33] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

say; but at length I rose, and, buttoning my 
coat up and down, made a sudden intrepid 
forced march full upon the table. And there, 
near the centre of the slab, as I live, I saw an 
irregular little hole, or, rather, short nibbled 
sort of crack, from which (like a butterfly es 
caping its chrysalis) the sparkling object, 
whatever it might be, was struggling. Its mo 
tion was the motion of life. I stood becharmed. 
Are there, indeed, spirits, thought I ; and is this 
one? No; I must be dreaming. I turned my 
glance off to the red fire on the hearth, then 
back to the pale lustre on the table. What I saw 
was no optical illusion, but a real marvel. The 
tremor was increasing, when, once again, De- 
mocritus befriended me. Supernatural corusca 
tion as it appeared, I strove to look at the 
strange object in a purely scientific way. Thus 
viewed, it appeared some new sort of small 
shining beetle or bug, and, I thought, not with 
out something of a hum to it, too. 

I still watched it, and with still increasing 
self-possession. Sparkling and wriggling, it 
still continued its throes. In another moment it 
was just on the point of escaping its prison. 
A thought struck me. Running for a tumbler, 

[34] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

I clapped it over the insect just in time to se 
cure it. 

After watching it a while longer under the 
tumbler, I left all as it was, and, tolerably 
composed, retired. 

Now, for the soul of me, I could not, at that 
time, comprehend the phenomenon. A live bug 
come out of a dead table? A fire-fly bug come 
out of a piece of ancient lumber, for one knows 
not how many years stored away in an old gar 
ret? Was ever such a thing heard of, or even 
dreamed of? How got the bug there? Never 
mind. I bethought me of Democritus, and re 
solved to keep cool. At all events, the mystery 
of the ticking was explained. It was simply the 
sound of the gnawing and filing, and tapping 
of the bug, in eating its way out. It was satis 
factory to think, that there was an end forever 
to the ticking. I resolved not to let the occasion 
pass without reaping some credit from it. 

"Wife," said I, next morning, "you will not 
be troubled with any more ticking in our table. 
I have put a stop to all that." 

"Indeed, husband," said she, with some in 
credulity. 

"Yes, wife," returned I, perhaps a little 

[35] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

vaingloriously, "I have put a quietus upon that 
ticking. Depend upon it, the ticking will 
trouble you no more." 

In vain she besought me to explain myself. 
I would not gratify her; being willing to bal 
ance any previous trepidation I might have be 
trayed, by leaving room now for the imputa 
tion of some heroic feat whereby I had silenced 
the ticking. It was a sort of innocent deceit by 
implication, quite harmless, and, I thought, of 
utility. 

But when I went to breakfast, I saw my wife 
kneeling at the table again, and my girls look 
ing ten times more frightened than ever. 

"Why did you tell me that boastful tale," 
said my wife, indignantly. "You might have 
known how easily it would be found out. See 
this crack, too ; and here is the ticking again, 
plainer than ever." 

"Impossible," I explained; but upon apply 
ing my ear, sure enough, tick ! tick ! tick ! The 
ticking was there. 

Recovering myself the best way I might, I 
demanded the bug. 

"Bug?" screamed Julia, "Good heavens, pa 
pa!" 

[36] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

"I hope sir, you have been bringing no bugs 
into this house," said my wife, severely. 

"The bug, the bug! " I cried ; "the bug under 
the tumbler." 

"Bugs in tumblers ! " cried the girls ; "not our 
tumblers, papa? You have not been putting 
bugs into our tumblers ? Oh, what does what 
does it all mean?" 

"Do you see this hole, this crack here?" said 
I, putting my finger on the spot. 

"That I do," said my wife, with high dis 
pleasure, "And how did it come there? What 
have you been doing to the table?" 

"Do you see this crack ? repeated I , intensely. 

"Yes, yes," said Julia; "that was what 
frightened me so; it looks so like witch- work." 

"Spirits ! spirits ! " cried Anna. 

"Silence!" said my wife. "Go on, sir, and tell 
us what you know of the crack." 

"Wife and daughters," said I, solemnly, 
"out of that crack, or hole, while I was sitting 
all alone here last night, a wonderful- 
Here, involuntarily, I paused, fascinated by 
the expectant attitudes and bursting eyes of 
Julia and Anna. 

"What, what?" cried Julia. 

[37] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

"A bug, Julia." 

"Bug?" cried my wife. "A bug come out of 
this table? And what did you do with it?" 

"Clapped it under a tumbler." 

"Biddy ! Biddy ! " cried my wife, going to the 
door. "Did you see a tumbler here on this table 
when you swept the room?" 

"Sure I did, marm, and bomnable bug un 
der it." 

"And what did you do with it? "demanded I. 

"Put the bug in the fire, sir, and rinsed out 
the tumbler ever so many times, marm." 

"Where is that tumbler?" cried Anna. "I 
hope you scratched it marked it some way. 
I ll never drink out of that tumbler; never put 
it before me, Biddy. A bug a bug! Oh, Julia! 
Oh, mamma! I feel it crawling all over me, 
even now. Haunted table!" 

"Spirits! spirits!" cried Julia. 

"My daughters," said their mother, with 
authority in her eyes, "go to your chamber till 
you can behave more like reasonable creatures. 
Is it a bug a bug that can frighten you out of 
what little wits you ever had ? Leave the room. 
I am astonished, I am pained by such childish 
conduct." 

[38] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

"Now tell me," said she, addressing me, as 
soon as they had withdrawn, "now tell me 
truly, did a bug really come out of this crack 
in the table?" 

"Wife, it is even so." 

"Did you see it come out?" 

"I did." 

She looked earnestly at the crack, leaning 
over it. 

"Are you sure?" said she, looking up, but 
still bent over. 

"Sure, sure." 

She was silent. I began to think that the 
mystery of the thing began to tell even upon 
her. Yes, thought I, I shall presently see my 
wife shaking and shuddering, and, who knows, 
calling in some old dominie to exorcise the 
table, and drive out the spirits. 

"I ll tell you what we ll do," said she sudden 
ly, and not without excitement. 

"What, wife?" said I, all eagerness, expect 
ing some mystical proposition; "what, wife?" 

"We will rub this table all over with that 
celebrated roach powder I ve heard of." 

"Good gracious! Then you don t think it s 
spirits?" 

[39] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

"Spirits?" 

The emphasis of scornful incredulity was 
worthy of Democritus himself. 

"But this ticking this ticking?" said I. 

"I ll whip that out of it." 

"Come, come, wife," said I, "you are going 
too far the other way, now. Neither roach pow 
der nor whipping will cure this table. It s a 
queer table, wife; there s no blinking it." 

"I ll have it rubbed, though," she replied, 
"well rubbed;" and calling Biddy, she bade her 
get wax and brush, and give the table a vigor 
ous manipulation. That done, the cloth was 
again laid, and we sat down to our morning 
meal ; but my daughters did not make their ap 
pearance. Julia and Anna took no breakfast 
that day. 

When the cloth was removed, in a business 
like way, my wife went to work with a dark 
colored cement, and hermetically closed the lit 
tle hole in the table. 

My daughters looking pale, I insisted upon 
taking them out for a walk that morning, when 
the following conversation ensued: 

"My worst presentiments about that table 
are being verified, papa," said Julia; "not for 

[40] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

nothing was that intimation of the cloven foot 
on my shoulder." 

"Nonsense," said I. "Let us go into Mrs. 
Brown s, and have an ice-cream." 

The spirit of Democritus was stronger on me 
now. By a curious coincidence, it strengthened 
with the strength of the sunlight. 

"But is it not miraculous," said Anna, "how 
a bug should come out of a table?" 

"Not at all, my daughter. It is a very com 
mon thing for bugs to come out of wood. You 
yourself must have seen them coming out of 
the ends of the billets on the hearth." 

"Ah, but that wood is almost fresh from the 
woodland. But the table is at least a hundred 
years old." 

"What of that?" said I, gayly. "Have not 
live toads been found in the hearts of dead 
rocks, as old as creation?" 

"Say what you will, papa, I feel it is spirits," 
said Julia. "Do, do now, my dear papa, have 
that haunted table removed from the house." 

"Nonsense," said I. 

By another curious coincidence, the more 
they felt frightened, the more I felt brave. 

Evening came. 

[41] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

"This ticking," said my wife; "do you think 
that another bug will come of this continued 
ticking?" 

Curiously enough, that had not occurred to 
me before. I had not thought of there being 
twins of bugs. But now, who knew; there 
might be even triplets. 

I resolved to take precautions, and, if there 
was to be a second bug, infallibly secure it. 
During the evening, the ticking was again 
heard. About ten o clock I clapped a tumbler 
over the spot, as near as I could judge of it by 
my ear. Then we all retired, and locking the 
door of the cedar-parlor, I put the key in my 
pocket. 

In the morning, nothing was to be seen, but 
the ticking was heard. The trepidation of my 
daughters returned. They wanted to call in the 
neighbors. But to this my wife was vigorously 
opposed. We should be the laughing-stock of 
the whole town. So it was agreed that nothing 
should be disclosed. Biddy received strict 
charges; and, to make sure, was not allowed 
that week to go to confession, lest she should 
tell the priest. 

I stayed home all that day; every hour or 

[42] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

two bending over the table, both eye and ear. 
Towards night, I thought the ticking grew 
more distinct, and seemed divided from my ear 
by a thinner and thinner partition of the 
wood. I thought, too, that I perceived a faint 
heaving up, or bulging of the wood, in the place 
where I had placed the tumbler. To put an end 
to the suspense, my wife proposed taking a 
knife and cutting into the wood there ; but I 
had a less impatient plan ; namely, that she and 
I should sit up with the table that night, as, 
from present symptoms, the bug would proba 
bly make its appearance before morning. For 
myself, I was curious to see the first advent of 
the thing the first dazzle of the chick as it 
chipped the shell. 

The idea struck my wife not unfavorably. 
She insisted that both Julia and Anna should 
be of the party, in order that the evidence of 
their senses should disabuse their minds of all 
nursery nonsense. For that spirits should tick, 
and that spirits should take unto themselves 
the form of bugs, was, to my wife, the most 
foolish of all foolish imaginations. True, she 
could not account for the thing ; but she had all 
confidence that it could be, and would yet be, 

[43] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

somehow explained, and that to her entire 
satisfaction. Without knowing it herself, my 
wife was a female Democritus. For my part, 
my present feelings were of a mixed sort. In a 
strange and not unpleasing way, I gently oscil 
lated between Democritus and Cotton Mather. 
But to my wife and daughters I assumed to 
be pure Democritus a jeerer at all tea-table 
spirits whatever. 

So, laying in a good supply of candles and 
crackers, all four of us sat up with the table, 
and at the same time sat round it. For a while 
my wife and I carried on an animated conver 
sation. But my daughters were silent. Then my 
wife and I would have had a rubber of whist, 
but my daughters could not be prevailed upon 
to join. So we played whist with two dummies 
literally; my wife won the rubber and, fa 
tigued with victory, put away the cards. 

Half past eleven o clock. No sign of the bug. 
The candles began to burn dim. My wife was 
just in the act of snuffing them, when a sud 
den, violent, hollow, resounding, rumbling, 
thumping was heard. 

Julia and Anna sprang to their feet. 

"All well!" cried a voice from the street. It 

[44] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

was the watchman, first ringing down his club 
on the pavement, and then following it up with 
this highly satisfactory verbal announcement. 

"All well! Do you hear that, my girls?" said 
I, gayly. 

Indeed it was astonishing how brave as 
Bruce I felt in company with three women, 
and two of them half frightened out of their 
wits. 

I rose for my pipe, and took a philosophic 
smoke. 

Democritus forever, thought I. 

In profound silence, I sat smoking, when lo ! 
pop ! pop ! pop ! right under the table, a ter 
rible popping. 

This time we all four sprang up, and my 
pipe was broken. 

"Good heavens! what s that?" 

"Spirits! spirits!" cried Julia. 

"Oh, oh, oh!" cried Anna. 

"Shame!" said my wife, "it s that new bot 
tled cider, in the cellar, going off. I told Biddy 
to wire the bottles to-day." 

I shall here transcribe from memoranda, 
kept during part of the night. 

[45] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

"One o clock. No sign of the bug. Ticking continues. 

Wife getting sleepy. 
"Two o clock. No sign of the bug. Ticking intermittent. 

Wife fast asleep. 
"Three o clock. No sign of the bug. Ticking pretty 

steady. Julia and Anna getting sleepy. 
"Four o clock. No sign of the bug. Ticking regular, but 

not spirited. Wife, Julia, and Anna, all fast asleep 

in their chairs. 
"Five o clock. No sign of the bug. Ticking faint. Myself 

feeling drowsy. The rest still asleep." 

So far the journal. 

Rap! rap! rap! 

A terrific, portentious rapping against a 
door. 

Startled from our dreams, we started to our 
feet. 

Rap! rap! rap! 

Julia and Anna shrieked. 

I cowered in the corner. 

"You fools!" cried my wife, "it s the baker 
with the bread." 

Six o clock. 

She went to throw back the shutters, but ere 
it was done, a cry came from Julia. There, half 
in and half out its crack, there wriggled the 
bug, flashing in the room s general dimness, 
like a fiery opal. 

[46] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

Had this bug had a tiny sword by its side 
a Damascus sword and a tiny necklace round 
its neck a diamond necklace and a tiny gun 
in its claw brass gun and a tiny manuscript 
in its mouth a Chaldee manuscript Julia 
and Anna could not have stood more charmed. 

In truth, it was a beautiful bug a Jew jew 
eler s bug a bug like a sparkle of a glorious 
sunset. 

Julia and Anna had never dreamed of such 
a bug. To them, bug had been a word synony 
mous with hideousness. But this was a seraphi- 
cal bug ; or rather, all it had of the bug was the 
B, for it was beautiful as a butterfly. 

Julia and Anna gazed and gazed. They were 
no more alarmed. They were delighted. 

"But how got this strange, pretty creature 
into the table ? cried Julia. 

"Spirits can get anywhere," replied Anna. 

"Pshaw ! " said my wife. 

"Do you hear any more ticking? " said I. 

They all applied their ears, but heard noth 
ing. 

"Well, then, wife and daughters, now that it 
is all over, this very morning I will go and 
make inquiries about it." 

[47] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

"Oh, do, papa," cried Julia, "do go and con 
sult Madame Pazzi, the conjuress." 

"Better go and consult Professor Johnson, 
the naturalist," said my wife. 

"Bravo, Mrs. Democritus!" said I. "Profes 
sor Johnson is the man." 

By good fortune I found the professor in. 
Informing him briefly of the incident, he mani 
fested a cool, collected sort of interest, and 
gravely accompanied me home. The table was 
produced, the two openings pointed out, the 
bug displayed, and the details of the affair set 
forth ; my wife and daughters being present. 

"And now, Professor," said I, "what do you 
think of it?" 

Putting on his spectacles, the learned pro 
fessor looked hard at the table, and gently 
scraped with his penknife into the holes, but 
said nothing. 

"Is it not an unusual thing, this?" anxiously 
asked Anna. 

"Very unusual, Miss." 

At which Julia and Anna exchanged signifi 
cant glances. 

"But is it not wonderful, very wonderful?" 
demanded Julia. 

[48] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

"Very wonderful, Miss." 

My daughters exchanged still more signifi 
cant glances, and Julia, emboldened, again 
spoke. 

"And must you not admit, sir, that it is the 
work of of of sp ?" 

"Spirits? No," was the crusty rejoinder. 

"My daughters," said I, mildly, "y u should 
remember that this is not Madame Pazzi, the 
conjuress, you put your questions to, but the 
eminent naturalist, Professor Johnson. And 
now, Professor," I added, "be pleased to ex 
plain. Enlighten our ignorance." 

Without repeating all the learned gentle 
man said for, indeed, though lucid, he was a 
little prosy let the following summary of his 
explication suffice. 

The incident was not wholly without ex 
ample. The wood of the table was apple-tree, 
a sort of tree much fancied by various insects. 
The bugs had come from eggs laid inside the 
bark of the living tree in the orchard. By care 
ful examination of the position of the hole from 
which the last bug had emerged, in relation to 
the cortical layers of the slab, and then allow 
ing for the inch and a half along the grain, ere 

[49] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

the bug had eaten its way entirely out, and then 
computing the whole number of cortical layers 
in the slab, with a reasonable conjecture for the 
number cut off from the outside, it appeared 
that the egg must have been laid in the tree 
some ninety years, more or less, before the tree 
could have been felled. But between the fell 
ing of the tree and the present time, how long 
might that be? It was a very old-fashioned 
table. Allow eighty years for the age of the 
table, which would make one hundred and fifty 
years that the bug had laid in the egg. Such, at 
least, was Professor Johnson s computation. 

"Now, Julia," said I, "after that scientific 
statement of the case (though, I confess, I 
don t exactly understand it) where are your 
spirits ? It is very wonderful as it is, but where 
are your spirits ?" 

"Where, indeed?" said my wife. 

"Why, now, she did not really associate this 
purely natural phenomenon with any crude, 
spiritual hypothesis, did she?" observed the 
learned professor, with a slight sneer. 

"Say what you will," said Julia, holding up, 
in the covered tumbler, the glorious, lustrous, 
flashing, live opal, "say what you will, if this 

[50] 



THE APPLE-TREE TABLE 

beauteous creature be not a spirit, it yet teaches 
a spiritual lesson. For if, after one hundred 
and fifty years entombment, a mere insect 
comes forth at last into light, itself an efful 
gence, shall there be no glorified resurrection 
for the spirit of man? Spirits! spirits!" she ex 
claimed, with rapture, "I still believe in them 
with delight, when before I but thought of 
them with terror." 

The mysterious insect did not long enjoy its 
radiant life; it expired the next day. But my 
girls have preserved it. Embalmed in a silver 
vinaigrette, it lies on the little apple-tree table 
in the pier of the cedar-parlor. 

And whatever lady doubts this story, my 
daughters will be happy to show her both the 
bug and the table, and point out to her, in the 
repaired slab of the latter, the two sealing-wax 
drops designating the exact place of the two 
holes made by the two bugs, something in the 
same way in which are marked the spots where 
the cannon balls struck Brattle Street church. 



[51] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

BY A VIRGINIAN SPENDING JULY 
IN VERMONT 

A PAPERED chamber in a fine old f arm- 
-ZjL house, a mile from any other dwelling, and 
dipped to the eaves in foliage surrounded by 
mountains, old woods, and Indian pools, this 
surely, is the place to write of Hawthorne. 
Some charm is in this northern air, for love and 
duty seem both impelling to the task. A man of 
a deep and noble nature has seized me in this 
seclusion. His wild, witch-voice rings through 
me ; or, in softer cadences, I seem to hear it in 
the songs of the hillside birds that sing in the 
larch trees at my window. 

Would that all excellent books were found 
lings, without father or mother, that so it might 
be we could glorify them, without including 
their ostensible authors! Nor would any true 
man take exception to this ; least of all, he who 
writes, "When the artist rises high enough to 
achieve the beautiful, the symbol by which he 

[53] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

makes it perceptible to mortal senses becomes 
of little value in his eyes, while his spirit pos 
sesses itself in the enjoyment of the reality." 

But more than this. I know not what would 
be the right name to put on the title-page of an 
excellent book; but this I feel, that the names 
of all fine authors are fictitious ones, far more 
so than that of Junius; simply standing, as 
they do, for the mystical ever-eluding spirit of 
all beauty, which ubiquitously possesses men of 
genius. Purely imaginative as this fancy may 
appear, it nevertheless seems to receive some 
warranty from the fact, that on a personal in 
terview no great author has ever come up to the 
idea of his reader. But that dust of which our 
bodies are composed, how can it fitly express 
the nobler intelligences among us? With rev 
erence be it spoken, that not even in the case of 
one deemed more than man, not even in our 
Savicur, did his visible frame betoken any 
thing of the augustness of the nature within. 
Else, how could those Jewish eyewitnesses fail 
to see heaven in his glance ! 

It is curious how a man may travel along a 
country road, and yet miss the grandest or 
sweetest of prospects by reason of an interven- 

[54] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

ing hedge, so like all other hedges, as in no way 
to hint of the wide landscape beyond. So has it 
been with me concerning the enchanting land 
scape in the soul of this Hawthorne, this most 
excellent Man of Mosses. His Old Manse has 
been written now four years, but I never read 
it till a day or two since. I had seen it in the 
book-stores heard of it often even had it 
recommended to me by a tasteful friend, as 
a rare, quiet book, perhaps too deserving of 
popularity to be popular. But there are so 
many books called "excellent," and so much 
unpopular merit, that amid the thick stir of 
other things, the hint of my tasteful friend was 
disregarded and for four years the Mosses on 
the Old Manse never refreshed me with their 
perennial green. It may be, however, that all 
this while the book, likewise, was only improv 
ing in flavor and body. At any rate, it so 
chanced that this long procrastination eventu 
ated in a happy result. At breakfast the other 
day, a mountain girl, a cousin of mine, who for 
the last two weeks has every morning helped 
me to strawberries and raspberries, which, like 
the roses and pearls in the fairy tale, seemed to 
fall into the saucer from those strawberry- 

[55] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

beds, her cheeks this delightful creature, this 
charming Cherry says to me "I see you spend 
your mornings in the haymow ; and yesterday I 
found there Dwight s Travels in New Eng 
land. Now I have something far better than 
that, something more congenial to our summer 
on these hills. Take these raspberries, and then 
I will give you some moss." "Moss!" said I. 
"Yes, and you must take it to the barn with 
you, and good-by to D wight." 

With that she left me, and soon returned 
with a volume, verdantly bound, and garnished 
with a curious frontispiece in green; nothing 
less than a fragment of real moss, cunningly 
pressed to a fly-leaf. "Why, this," said I, spill 
ing my raspberries, "this is the Mosses from 
an Old Manse." "Yes," said cousin Cherry, 
"yes, it is that flowery Hawthorne." "Haw 
thorne and Mosses," said I, "no more it is 
morning: it is July in the country: and I am 
off for the barn." 

Stretched on that new mown clover, the hill 
side breeze blowing over me through the wide 
barn door, and soothed by the hum of the bees 
in the meadows around, how magically stole 
over me this Mossy Man ! and how amply, how 

[56] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

bountifully, did he redeem that delicious prom 
ise to his guests in the Old Manse, of whom it is 
written: "Others could give them pleasure, or 
amusement, or instruction these could be 
picked up anywhere ; but it was for me to give 
them rest rest, in a life of trouble ! What bet 
ter could be done for those weary and world- 
worn spirits ? . . . what better could be done for 
anybody who came within our magic circle 
than to throw the spell of a tranquil spirit over 
him?" So all that day, half -buried in the new 
clover, I watched this Hawthorne s "Assyrian 
dawn, and Paphian sunset and moonrise from 
the summit of our eastern hill." 

The soft ravishments of the man spun me 
round about in a web of dreams, and when the 
book was closed, when the spell was over, this 
wizard "dismissed me with but misty reminis 
cences, as if I had been dreaming of him." 

What a wild moonlight of contemplative hu 
mor bathes that Old Manse ! the rich and rare 
distilment of a spicy and slowly-oozing heart. 
No rollicking rudeness, no gross fun fed on fat 
dinners, and bred in the lees of wine, but a 
humor so spiritually gentle, so high, so deep, 
and yet so richly relishable, that it were hardly 

[57] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

inappropriate in an angel. It is the very relig 
ion of mirth ; for nothing so human but it may 
be advanced to that. The orchard of the Old 
Manse seems the visible type of the fine mind 
that has described it those twisted and con 
torted old trees, "they stretch out their crooked 
branches, and take such hold of the imagina 
tion that we remember them as humorists and 
odd-fellows." And then, as surrounded by 
these grotesque forms, and hushed in the noon 
day repose of this Hawthorne s spell, how apt 
ly might the still fall of his ruddy thoughts into 
your soul be symbolized by: "In the stillest 
afternoon, if I listened, the thump of a great 
apple was audible, falling without a breath of 
wind, from the mere necessity of perfect ripe 
ness." For no less ripe than ruddy are the 
apples of the thoughts and fancies in this sweet 
Man of Mosses. 

Buds and Bird Voices. What a delicious 
thing is that! "Will the world ever be so de 
cayed, that spring may not renew its green 
ness?" And the Fire Worship. Was ever the 
hearth so glorified into an altar before? The 
mere title of that piece is better than any com 
mon work in fifty folio volumes. How exquisite 

[58] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

is this : "Nor did it lessen the charm of his soft, 
familiar courtesy and helpfulness that the 
mighty spirit, were opportunity offered him, 
would run riot through the peaceful house, 
wrap its inmates in his terrible embrace, and 
leave nothing of them save their whitened 
bones. This possibility of mad destruction only 
made his domestic kindness the more beautiful 
and touching. It was so sweet of him, being en 
dowed with such power, to dwell day after day, 
and one long lonesome night after another, on 
the dusky hearth, only now and then betraying 
his wild nature by thrusting his red tongue out 
of the chimnej^-top ! True, he had done much 
mischief in the world, and was pretty certain 
to do more ; but his warm heart atoned for all. 
He was kindly to the race of man; and they 
pardoned his characteristic imperfections." 

But he has still other apples, not quite so 
ruddy, though full as ripe : apples, that have 
been left to wither on the tree, after the pleas 
ant autumn gathering is past. The sketch of 
The Old Apple Dealer is conceived in the 
subtlest spirit of sadness; he whose "subdued 
and nerveless boyhood prefigured his abortive 

[59] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

prime, which likewise contained within itself 
the prophecy and image of his lean and torpid 
age." Such touches as are in this piece cannot 
proceed from any common heart. They argue 
such a depth of tenderness, such a boundless 
sympathy with all forms of being, such an 
omnipresent love, that we must needs say that 
this Hawthorne is here almost alone in his 
generation, at least, in the artistic manifesta 
tion of these things. Still more. Such touches 
as these and many, very many similar ones, 
all through his chapters furnish clues where 
by we enter a little way into the intricate, pro 
found heart where they originated. And we see 
that suffering, some time or other and in some 
shape or other, this only can enable any man 
to depict it in others. All over him, Haw 
thorne s melancholy rests like an Indian-sum 
mer, which, though bathing a whole country in 
one softness, still reveals the distinctive hue of 
every towering hill and each far-winding vale. 
But it is the least part of genius that attracts 
admiration. Where Hawthorne is known, he 
seems to be deemed a pleasant writer, with a 
pleasant style, a sequestered, harmless man, 
from whom any deep and weighty thing would 

[60] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

hardly be anticipated a man who means no 
meanings. But there is no man, in whom humor 
and love, like mountain peaks, soar to such a 
rapt height as to receive the irradiations of the 
upper skies ; there is no man in whom humor 
and love are developed in that high form called 
genius ; no such man can exist without also pos 
sessing, as the indispensable complement of 
these, a great, deep intellect, which drops down 
into the universe like a plummet. Or, love and 
humor are only the eyes through which such an 
intellect views this world. The great beauty in 
such a mind is but the product of its strength. 
What, to all readers, can be more charming 
than the piece entitled Monsieur du Miroir; 
and to a reader at all capable of fully fathom 
ing it, what, at the same time, can possess more 
mystical depth of meaning? yes, there he sits 
and looks at me, this "shape of mystery," this 
"identical MONSIEUR DU MIROIR!" "Methinks 
I should tremble now were his wizard power of 
gliding through all impediments in search of 
me to place him suddenly before my eyes." 

How profound, nay, appalling, is the moral 
evolved by the Earth s Holocaust; where- 
beginning with the hollow follies and aff ecta- 

[61] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

tions of the world, all vanities and empty 
theories and forms are, one after another, and 
by an admirably graduated, growing compre 
hensiveness, thrown into the allegorical fire, 
till, at length, nothing is left but the all-engen 
dering heart of man ; which remaining still un- 
consumed, the great conflagration is naught. 

Of a piece with this, is the Intelligence 
Office, a wondrous symbolizing of the secret 
workings in men s souls. There are other 
sketches still more charged with ponderous 
import. 

The Christmas Banquet, and The Bosom 
Serpent, would be fine subjects for a curious 
and elaborate analysis, touching the conjectur 
al parts of the mind that produced them. For 
spite of all the Indian-summer sunlight on the 
hither side of Hawthorne s soul, the other side 
like the dark half of the physical sphere is 
shrouded in a blackness, ten times black. But 
this darkness but gives more effect to the ever- 
moving dawn, that forever advances through 
it, and circumnavigates his world.^Whether 
Hawthorne has simply availed himself of this 
mystical blackness as a means to the wondrous 
effects he makes it to produce in his lights and 

[62] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

shades; or whether there really lurks in him, 
perhaps unknown to himself, a touch of Puri 
tanic gloom, this, I cannot altogether tell. 
Certain it is, however, that this great power of 
blackness in him derives its force from its ap 
peals to that Calvinistic sense of Innate De 
pravity and Original Sin, from whose visita 
tions, in some shape or other, no deeply think 
ing mind is always and wholly free. For, in cer 
tain moods, no man can weigh this world with 
out throwing in something, somehow like 
Original Sin, to strike the uneven balance. At 
all events, perhaps no writer has ever wielded 
this terrific thought with greater terror than 
this same harmless Hawthorne/) Still more: 
this black conceit pervades him through and 
through. You may be witched by his sunlight, 
transported by the bright gildings in the 
skies he builds over you ; but there is the black 
ness of darkness beyond; and even his bright 
gildings but fringe and play upon the edges of 
thunder-clouds. In one word, the world is mis 
taken in this Nathaniel Hawthorne. He him 
self must often have smiled at its absurd mis 
conception of him. He is immeasurably deeper 
than the plummet of the mere critic. For it is 

[63] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

not the brain that can test such a man ; it is only 
the heart. You cannot come to know great 
ness by inspecting it ; there is no glimpse to be 
caught of it, except by intuition ; you need not 
ring it, you but touch it, and you find it is gold. 
Now, it is that blackness in Hawthorne, of 
which I have spoken that so fixes and fasci 
nates me. It may be, nevertheless, that it is too 
largely developed in him. Perhaps he does not 
give us a ray of light for every shade of his 
dark. But however this may be, this black 
ness it is that furnishes the infinite obscure 
of his background, that background, against 
which Shakspeare plays his grandest conceits, 
the things that have made for Shakspeare his 
loftiest but most circumscribed renown, as the 
profoundest of thinkers. For by philosophers 
Shakspeare is not adored, as the great man of 
tragedy and comedy: "Off with his head; so 
much for Buckingham!" This sort of rant 
interlined by another hand, brings down the 
house, those mistaken souls, who dream of 
Shakespeare as a mere man of Richard the 
Third humps and Macbeth daggers. But it is 
those deep far-away things in him ; those occa 
sional flashings-forth of the intuitive Truth in 

[64] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

him; those short, quick probings at the very 
axis of reality ; these are the things that make 
Shakspeare, Shakspeare, Through the mouths 
of the dark characters of Hamlet, Timon, 
Lear, and lago, he craftily says, or sometimes 
insinuates the things which we feel to be so ter 
rifically true, that it were all but madness for 
any good man, in his own proper character, toj 
utter, or even hint of them. Tormented intoi 
desperation, Lear, the frantic king, tears off 
the mask, and speaks the same madness of vital 
truth. But, as I before said, it is the least part 
of genius that attracts admiration. And so, 
much of the blind, unbridled admiration that 
has been heaped upon Shakspeare, has been 
lavished upon the least part of him. And few 
of his endless commentators and critics seem to 
have remembered, or even perceived, that the 
immediate products of a great mind are not so 
great as that undeveloped and sometimes un 
developable yet dimly-discernible greatness, to 
which those immediate products are but the in 
fallible indices. In Shakspeare s tomb lies in 
finitely more than Shakspeare ever wrote. And 
if I magnify Shakspeare, it is not so much for 
what he did do as for what he did not do, or re- 

[65] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

framed from doing. For in this world of lies, 
Truth is forced to fly like a scared white doe in 
the woodlands ; and only by cunning glimpses 
will she reveal herself, as in Shakspeare and 
other masters of the great Art of Telling the 
Truth, even though it be covertly and by 
snatches. 

But if this view of the all-popular Shaks 
peare be seldom taken by his readers, and if 
very few who extol him have ever read him 
deeply, or perhaps, only have seen him on the 
tricky stage (which alone made, and is still 
making him his mere mob renown) if few 
men have time, or patience, or palate, for the 
spiritual truth as it is in that great genius it 
is then no matter of surprise, that in a contem 
poraneous age, Nathaniel Hawthorne is a man 
as yet almost utterly mistaken among men. 
Here and there, in some quiet armchair in the 
noisy town, or some deep nook among the 
noiseless mountains, he may be appreciated for 
something of what he is. But unlike Shaks 
peare, who was forced to the contrary course 
by circumstances, Hawthorne (either from 
simple disinclination, or else from inaptitude) 
refrains from all the popularizing noise and 

[66] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

show of broad farce and blood-besmeared trag 
edy; content with the still, rich utterance of a 
great intellect in repose, and which sends few 
thoughts into circulation, except they be arteri- 
alized at his large warm lungs, and expanded 
in his honest heart. 

Nor need you fix upon that blackness in him, 
if it suit you not. Nor, indeed, will all readers 
discern it ; for it is, mostly, insinuated to those 
who may best understand it, and account for it ; 
it is not obtruded upon every one alike. 

Some may start to read of Shakspeare and 
Hawthorne on the same page. They may say, 
that if an illustration were needed, a lesser 
light might have sufficed to elucidate this Haw 
thorne, this small man of yesterday. But I am 
not willingly one of those who, as touching 
Shakspeare at least, exemplify the maxim of 
Rochefoucauld, that "we exalt the reputation 
of some, in order to depress that of others"; 
who, to teach all noble-souled aspirants that 
there is no hope for them, pronounce Shaks 
peare absolutely unapproachable.JBut Shaks 
peare has been approached. There are minds 
that have gone as far as Shakspeare into the 
universe. And hardly a mortal man, who, at 

[67] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

some time or other, has not felt as great 
thoughts in him as any you will find in Hamlet. 
We must not inf erentially malign mankind for 
the sake of any one man, whoever he may be. 
This is too cheap a purchase of contentment for 
conscious mediocrity to make. Besides, this ab 
solute and unconditional adoration of Shaks- 
peare has grown to be a part of our Anglo- 
Saxon superstitions. The Thirty-Nine Articles 
are now Forty. Intolerance has come to exist in 
this matter. You must believe in Shakspeare s 
unapproachability, or quit the country. But 
what sort of a belief is this for an American, a 
man who is bound to carry republican progres- 
siveness into Literature as well as into Life? 
Believe me, my friends, that men, not very 
much inferior to Shakspeare are this day being 
born on the banks of the Ohio. And the day will 
come when you shall say, Who reads a book by 
an Englishman that is a modern? The great 
mistake seems to be, that even with those 
Americans who look forward to the coming of 
a great literary genius among us, they some 
how fancy he will come in the costume of 
Queen Elizabeth s day ; be a writer of dramas 
founded upon old English history or the tales 

[68] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

of Boccaccio. Whereas, great geniuses are 
parts of the times, they themselves are the 
times, and possess a corresponding coloringJ 
It is of a piece with the Jews, who, while their 
Shiloh was meekly walking in their streets, 
were still praying for his magnificent coming ; 
looking for him in a chariot, who was already 
among them on an ass. Nor must we forget 
that, in his own lifetime, Shakspeare was not 
Shakspeare, but only Master William Shaks 
peare of the shrewd, thriving, business firm of 
Condell, Shakspeare and Co., proprietors of 
the Globe Theatre in London ; and by a courtly 
author, of the name of Chettle, was looked at 
as an "upstart crow," beautified "with other 
birds feathers." For, mark it well, imitation is 
often the first charge brought against original 
ity. Why this is so, there is not space to set 
forth here. You must have plenty of sea-room 
to tell the Truth in ; especially when it seems to 
have an aspect of newness, as America did in 
1492, though it was then just as old, and per 
haps older than Asia, only those sagacious 
philosophers, the common sailors, had never 
seen it before, swearing it was all water and 
moonshine there. 

[69] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

Now I do not say that Nathaniel of Salem is 
a greater man than William of Avon, or as 
great. But the difference between the two men 
is by no means immeasurable. Not a very great 
deal more, and Nathaniel were verily William. 

This, too, I mean, that if Shakspeare has not 
been equalled, give the world time, and he is 
sure to be surpassed in one hemisphere or the 
other. Nor will it at all do to say that the world 
is getting grey and grizzled now, and has lost 
that fresh charm which she wore of old, and by 
virtue of which the great poets of past times 
made themselves what we esteem them to be. 
Not so. The world is as young to-day as when 
it was created ; and this Vermont morning dew 
is as wet to my feet, as Eden s dew to Adam s. 
Nor has nature been all over ransacked by our 
progenitors, so that no new charms and mys 
teries remain for this latter generation to find. 
Far from it. The trillionth part has not yet 
been said ; and all that has been said, but multi 
plies the avenues to what remains to be said. 
It is not so much paucity as superabundance 
of material that seems to incapacitate modern 
authors. 

Let America, then, prize and cherish her 

[70] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

writers ; yea, let her glorify them. They are not 
so many in number as to exhaust her goodwill. 
And while she has good kith and kin of her 
own, to take to her bosom, let her not lavish her 
embraces upon the household of an alien. For 
believe it or not, England after all, is in many 
things an alien to us. China has more bonds of 
real love for us than she. But even were there 
no strong literary individualities among us, as 
there are some dozens at least, nevertheless, let 
America first praise mediocrity even, in her 
children, before she praises (for everywhere, 
merit demands acknowledgment from every 
one) the best excellence in the children of any 
other land. Let her own authors, I say, have the 
priority of appreciation. I was much pleased 
with a hot-headed Carolina cousin of mine, who 
once said, "If there were no other American 
to stand by, in literature, why, then, I would 
stand by Pop Emmons and his Fredoniad, and 
till a better epic came along, swear it was not 
very far behind the Iliad." Take away the 
words, and in spirit he was sound. 

Not that American genius needs patronage 
in order to expand. For that explosive sort of 
stuff will expand though screwed up in a vice, 

[71] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

and burst it, though it were triple steel. It is 
for the nation s sake, and not for her authors 
sake, that I would have America be heedful of 
the increasing greatness among her writers. 
For how great the shame, if other nations 
should be before her, in crowning her heroes of 
the pen! But this is almost the case now. 
American authors have received more just and 
discriminating praise (however loftily and 
ridiculously given, in certain cases) even from 
some Englishmen, than from their own 
countrymen. There are hardly five critics in 
America; and several of them are asleep. As 
for patronage, it is the American author who 
now patronizes his country, and not his 
country him. And if at times some among them 
appeal to the people for more recognition, it 
is not always with selfish motives, but patriotic 
ones. 

It is true, that but few of them as yet have 
evinced that decided originality which merits 
great praise. But that graceful writer, who 
perhaps of all Americans has received the most 
plaudits from his own country for his produc 
tions, that very popular and amiable writer, 
however good and self-reliant in many things, 

[72] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

perhaps owes his chief reputation to the self- 
acknowledged imitation of a foreign model, 
and to the studied avoidance of all topics but 
smooth ones. But it is better to fail in original 
ity, than to succeed in imitation. He who has 
never failed somewhere, that man cannot be 
great. Failure is the true test of greatness., 
And if it be said, that continual success is a 
proof that a man wisely knows his powers, it 
is only to be added, that, in that case, he knows 
them to be small. Let us believe it, then, once 
for all, that there is no hope for us in these 
smooth, pleasing writers that know their pow 
ers. Without malice, but to speak the plain 
fact, they but furnish an appendix to Gold 
smith, and other English authors. And we 
want no American Goldsmiths, nay, we want 
no American Miltons. It were the vilest thing 
you could say of a true American author, that 
he were an American Tompkins. Call him an 
American and have done, for you cannot say a 
nobler thing of him. But it is not meant that 
all American writers should studiously cleave 
to nationality in their writings; only this, no 
American writer should write like an English 
man or a Frenchman; let him write like a man, 

[73] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

for then he will be sure to write like an Ameri 
can. Let us away with this leaven of literary 
flunkeyism towards England. If either must 
play the flunkey in this thing, let England do 
it, not us. While we are rapidly preparing for 
that political supremacy among the nations 
which prophetically awaits us at the close of 
the present century, in a literary point of view, 
we are deplorably unprepared for it; and we 
seem studious to remain so. Hitherto, reasons 
might have existed why this should be ; but no 
good reason exists now. And all that is requi 
site to amendment in this matter, is simply 
this; that while fully acknowledging all ex 
cellence everywhere, we should refrain from 
unduly lauding foreign writers, and, at the 
same time, duly recognize the meritorious 
writers that are our own; those writers who 
breathe that unshackeled, democratic spirit of 
Christianity in all things, which now takes the 
practical lead in this world, though at the same 
time led by ourselves us Americans. Let us 
boldly condemn all imitation, though it comes 
to us graceful and fragrant as the morning; 
and foster all originality though at first it be 
crabbed and ugly as our own pine knots. And 

[74] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

if any of our authors fail, or seem to fail, then, 
in the words of my Carolina cousin, let us clap 
him on the shoulder and back him against all 
Europe for his second round. The truth is, that 
in one point of view this matter of a national 
literature has come to pass with us, that in 
some sense we must turn bullies, else the day is 
lost, or superiority so far beyond us, that we 
can hardly say it will ever be ours. 

And now, my countrymen, as an excellent 
author of your own flesh and blood, an unimi- 
tating, and, perhaps, in his way, an inimitable 
man whom better can I commend to you, in 
the first place, than Nathaniel Hawthorne. He 
is one of the new, and far better generation of 
your writers. The smell of young beeches and 
hemlocks is upon him ; your own broad prairies 
are in his soul ; and if you travel away inland 
into his deep and noble nature, you will hear 
the far roar of his Niagara. Give not over to 
future generations the glad duty of ac 
knowledging him for what he is. Take that 
joy to yourself, in your own generation; and 
so shall he feel those grateful impulses on him, 
that may possibly prompt him to the full 
flower of some still greater achievement in 

[75] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

your eyes. And by confessing him you thereby 
confess others; you brace the whole brother 
hood. For genius, all over the world, stands 
hand in hand, and one shock of recognition 
runs the whole circle round. 

In treating of Hawthorne, or rather of 
Hawthorne in his writings (for I never saw 
the man ; and in the chances of a quiet planta 
tion life, remote from his haunts, perhaps nev 
er shall) ; in treating of his works, I say, I have 
thus far omitted all mention of his Twice Told 
Tales, and Scarlet Letter. Both are excellent, 
but full of such manifold, strange, and diffu 
sive beauties, that time would all but fail me to 
point the half of them out. But there are things 
in those two books, which, had they been writ 
ten in England a century ago, Nathaniel Haw 
thorne had utterly displaced many of the bright 
names we now revere on authority. But I am 
content to leave Hawthorne to himself, and to 
the infallible finding of posterity ; and however 
great may be the praise I have bestowed upon 
him, I feel that in so doing I have served and 
honored myself , than him. For, at bottom, great 
excellence is praise enough to itself; but the 
feeling of a sincere and appreciative love and 

[76] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

admiration towards it, this is relieved by utter 
ance, and warm, honest praise ever leaves a 
pleasant flavor in the mouth ; and it is an hon 
orable thing to confess to what is honorable in 
others. 

But I cannot leave my subject yet. No man 
can read a fine author, and relish him to his 
very bones while he reads, without subsequent 
ly fancying to himself some ideal image of the 
man and his mind. And if you rightly look for 
it, you will almost always find that the author 
himself has somewhere furnished you with his 
own picture. For poets (whether in prose or 
verse) , being painters by nature, are like their 
brethren of the pencil, the true portrait-paint 
ers, who, in the multitude of likenesses to be 
sketched, do not invariably omit their own ; and 
in all high instances, they paint them without 
any vanity, though at times with a lurking 
something that would take several pages to 
properly define. 

I submit it, then, to those best acquainted 
with the man personally, whether the following 
is not Nathaniel Hawthorne ; and to himself, 
whether something involved in it does not ex 
press the temper of his mind, that lasting 

[77] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

temper of all true, candid men a seeker, not a 
finder yet : 

A man now entered, in neglected attire, with the 
aspect of a thinker, but somewhat too roughhewn 
and brawny for a scholar. His face was full of 
sturdy vigor, with some finer and keener attribute 
beneath ; though harsh at first, it was tempered with 
the glow of a large, w T arm heart, which had force 
enough to heat his powerful intellect through and 
through. He advanced to the Intelligencer, and 
looked at him with a glance of such stern sincerity, 
that perhaps few secrets were beyond its scope. 
"I seek for Truth," said he. 

Twenty-four hours have elapsed since writ 
ing the foregoing. I have just returned from 
the haymow, charged more and more with love 
and admiration of Hawthorne. For I have just 
been gleaning through the Mosses, picking up 
many things here and there that had previously 
escaped me. And I found that but to glean 
after this man, is better than to be in at the har 
vest of others. To be frank (though, perhaps, 
rather foolish) notwithstanding what I wrote 
yesterday of these Mosses, I had not then 
culled them all; but had, nevertheless, been 
sufficiently sensible of the subtle essence in 
them, as to write as I did. To what infinite 
height of loving wonder and admiration I may 

[78] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

yet be borne, when by repeatedly banqueting 
on these Mosses I shall have thoroughly in 
corporated their whole stuff into my being 
that, I cannot tell. But already I feel that this 
Hawthorne has dropped germinous seeds into 
my soul. He expands and deepens down, the 
more I contemplate him ; and further and fur 
ther, shoots his strong New England roots into 
the hot soil in my ^ 



By careful reference to the table of con 
tents, I now find that I have gone through all 
the sketches ; but that when I yesterday wrote, 
I had not at all read two particular pieces, to 
which I now desire to call special attention 
A Select Party and Young Goodman Brown. 
Here, be it said to all those whom this poor 
fugitive scrawl of mine may tempt to the pe 
rusal of the Mosses, that they must on no ac 
count suffer themselves to be trifled with, dis 
appointed, or deceived by the triviality of 
many of the titles to these sketches. For in 
more than one instance, the title utterly belies 
the piece. It is as if rustic demijohns contain 
ing the very best and costliest of Falernian and 
Tokay, were labelled "Cider," "Perry," and 
"Elderberry wine." The truth seems to be, 

[79] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

that like many other geniuses, this Man of 
Mosses takes great delight in hoodwinking the 
world, at least, with respect to himself. Per 
sonally, I doubt not that he rather prefers to be 
generally esteemed but a so-so sort of author; 
being willing to reserve the thorough and acute 
appreciation of what he is, to that party most 
qualified to judge that is, to himself. Besides, 
at the bottom of their natures, men like Haw 
thorne, in many things, deem the plaudits of 
the public such strong presumptive evidence 
of mediocrity in the object of them, that it 
would in some degree render them doubtful of 
their own powers, did they hear much and vo 
ciferous braying concerning them in the public 
pastures. True, I have been braying myself (if 
you please to be witty enough to have it so), 
but then I claim to be the first that has so 
brayed in this particular matter; and, there 
fore, while pleading guilty to the charge, still 
claim all the merit due to originality. 

But with whatever motive, playful or pro 
found, Nathaniel Hawthorne has chosen to en 
title his pieces in the manner he has, it is certain 
that some of them are directly calculated to 
deceive egregiously deceive, the superficial 

[80] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

skimmer of pages. To be downright and candid 
once more, let me cheerfully say, that two of 
these titles did dolefully dupe no less an eager- 
eyed reader than myself ; and that, too, after I 
had been impressed with a sense of the great 
depth and breadth of this American man. 
"Who in the name of thunder" (as the coun 
try people say in this neighborhood) , "who in 
the name of thunder, would anticipate any 
marvel in a piece entitled Young Goodman 
Brown?" You would of course suppose that it 
was a simple little tale, intended as a supple 
ment to Goody Two Shoes. Whereas, it is deep 
as Dante; nor can you finish it, without ad 
dressing the author in his own words "It 
shall be yours to penetrate, in every bosom, the 
deep mystery of sin". . . . And with Young 
Goodman, too, in allegorical pursuit of his 
Puritan wife, you cry out in your anguish : 

"Faith !" shouted Goodman Brown, in a voice of 
agony and desperation ; and the echoes of the forest 
mocked him, crying, "Faith! Faith!" as if be 
wildered wretches were seeking her all through the 
wilderness. 

Now this same piece entitled Young Good 
man Brown, is one of the two that I had not 

[81] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

all read yesterday ; and I allude to it now, be 
cause it is, in itself, such a strong positive illus 
tration of the blackness in Hawthorne, which I 
had assumed from the mere occasional shadows 
of it; as revealed in several of the other 
sketches. But had I previously perused Young 
Goodman Broken, I should have been at no 
pains to draw the conclusion, which I came to 
at a time when I was ignorant that the book 
contained one such direct and unqualified 
manifestation of it. 

The other piece of the two referred to, is en 
titled A Select Party, which, in my first sim 
plicity upon originally taking hold of the book, 
I fancied must treat of some pumpkin-pie 
party in old Salem; or some chowder party on 
Cape Cod. Whereas, by all the gods of Peedee, 
it is the sweetest and sublime st thing that has 
been written since Spenser wrote. Nay, there 
is nothing in Spenser that surpasses it, perhaps 
nothing that equals it. And the test is this. 
Read any canto in The Faerie Queene and 
then read A Select Party, and decide which 
pleases you most, that is, if you are qualified 
to judge. Do not be frightened at this; for 
when Spenser was alive, he was thought of 

[82] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

very much as Hawthorne is now, was gener 
ally accounted just such a "gentle" harmless 
man. It may be, that to common eyes, the sub 
limity of Hawthorne seems lost in his sweet 
ness, as perhaps in that same Select Party 
of his; for whom he has builded so august a 
dome of sunset clouds, and served them on 
richer plate than Belshazzar when he ban 
queted his lords in Babylon. 

But my chief business now, is to point out a 
particular page in this piece, having reference 
to an honored guest, who under the name of 
the Master Genius, but in the guise "of a 
young man of poor attire, with no insignia of 
rank or acknowledged eminence," is intro 
duced to the Man of Fancy, who is the giver of 
the feast. Now, the page having reference to 
this Master Genius, so happily expresses much 
of what I yesterday wrote, touching the com 
ing of the literary Shiloh of America, that I 
cannot but be charmed by the coincidence ; es 
pecially, when it shows such a parity of ideas, 
at least in this one point, between a man like 
Hawthorne and a man like me. 

And here, let me throw out another conceit 
of mine touching this American Shiloh, or 

[83] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

Master Genius, as Hawthorne calls him. May 
it not be, that this commanding mind has not 
been, is not, and never will be, individually 
developed in any one man? And would it, in 
deed, appear so unreasonable to suppose, that 
this great fulness and overflowing may be, or 
may be destined to be, shared by a plurality of 
men of genius ? Surely, to take the very great 
est example on record, Shakspeare cannot be 
regarded as in himself the concretion of all the 
genius of his time ; nor as so immeasurably be 
yond Marlowe, Webster, Ford, Beaumont, 
Jonson, that these great men can be said to 
share none of his power? For one, I conceive 
that there were dramatists in Elizabeth s day, 
between whom and Shakspeare the distance 
was by no means great. Let any one, hitherto 
little acquainted with those neglected old au 
thors, for the first time read them thoroughly, 
or even read Charles Lamb s Specimens of 
them, and he will be amazed at the wondrous 
ability of those Anaks of men, and shocked at 
this renewed example of the fact, that Fortune 
has more to do with fame than merit, though, 
without merit, lasting fame there can be none. 
Nevertheless, it would argue too ill of my 

[84] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

country were this maxim to hold good concern 
ing Nathaniel Hawthorne, a man, who al 
ready, in some few minds has shed "such a 
light as never illuminates the earth save when 
a great heart burns as the household fire of a 
grand intellect." 

The words are his, in the Select Party; 
and they are a magnificent setting to a coinci 
dent sentiment of my own, but ramblingly 
expressed yesterday, in reference to himself. 
Gainsay it who will, as I now write, I am Pos 
terity speaking by proxy and after times will 
make it more than good, when I declare, that 
the American, who up to the present day has 
evinced, in literature, the largest brain with the 
largest heart, that man is Nathaniel Haw 
thorne. Moreover, that whatever Nathaniel 
Hawthorne may hereafter write, Mosses 
from an Old Manse will be ultimately ac 
counted his masterpiece. For there is a sure, 
though secret sign in some works which proves 
the culmination of the powers (only the devel 
opable ones, however) that produced them. 
But I am by no means desirous of the glory of 
a prophet. I pray Heaven that Hawthorne 
may yet prove me an impostor in this predic- 

[85] 



HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES 

tion. Especially, as I somehow cling to the 
strange fancy, that, in all men, hiddenly reside 
certain wondrous, occult properties as in 
some plants and minerals which by some 
happy but very rare accident (as bronze was 
discovered by the melting of the iron and brass 
at the burning of Corinth) may chance to be 
called forth here on earth ; not entirely waiting 
for their better discovery in the more congen 
ial, blessed atmosphere of heaven. 

Once more for it is hard to be finite upon 
an infinite subject, and all subjects are infinite. 
By some people this entire scrawl of mine may 
be esteemed altogether unnecessary, inasmuch 
"as years ago" (they may say) "we found out 
the rich and rare stuff in this Hawthorne, 
who you now parade forth, as if only you your 
self were the discoverer of this Portuguese dia 
mond in your literature." But even granting 
all this and adding to it, the assumption that 
the books of Hawthorne have sold by the 
five thousand, what does that signify? They 
should be sold by the hundred thousand; and 
read by the million ; and admired by every one 
who is capable of admiration. 



[86] 



JIMMY ROSE 



A TIME ago, no matter how long precisely, 
I, an old man, removed from the country 
to the city, having become unexpected heir to a 
great old house in a narrow street of one of 
the lower wards, once the haunt of style and 
fashion, full of gay parlors and bridal cham 
bers, but now, for the most part, transformed 
into counting-rooms and warehouses. There 
bales and boxes usurp the place of sofas ; day 
books and ledgers are spread where once the 
delicious breakfast toast was buttered. In those 
old wards the glorious old sof t-warfle days are 
over. 

Nevertheless, in this old house of mine, so 
strangely spared, some monument of depart 
ed days survived. Nor was this the only one. 
Amidst the warehouse ranges some few other 
dwellings likewise stood. The street s trans 
mutation was not yet complete. Like those old 
English friars and nuns, long haunting the 

[87] 



JIMMY ROSE 

ruins of their retreats after they had been de 
spoiled, so some few strange old gentlemen 
and ladies still lingered in the neighborhood, 
and would not, could not, might not quit it. 
And I thought that when, one spring, emerg 
ing from my white-blossoming orchard, my 
own white hairs and white ivory-headed cane 
were added to their loitering census, that those 
poor old souls insanely fancied the ward was 
looking up the tide of fashion setting back 
again. 

For many years the old house had been occu 
pied by an owner; those into whose hands it 
from time to time had passed having let it out 
to various shifting tenants ; decayed old towns 
people, mysterious recluses, or transient, am 
biguous-looking foreigners. 

While from certain cheap furbishings to 
which the exterior had been subjected, such as 
removing a fine old pulpit-like porch crowning 
the summit of six lofty steps, and set off with 
a broad-brimmed sounding-board overshadow 
ing the whole, as well as replacing the original 
heavy window shutters (each pierced with a 
crescent in the upper panel to admit an Orien 
tal and moony light into the otherwise shut-up 

[88] 



JIMMY ROSE 

rooms of a sultry morning in July) with frip 
pery Venetian blinds ; while, I repeat, the front 
of the house hereby presented an incongruous 
aspect, as if the graft of modernness had not 
taken in its ancient stock; still, however it 
might fare without, within little or nothing had 
been altered. The cellars were full of great 
grim, arched bins of blackened brick, looking 
like the ancient tombs of Templars, while over 
head were shown the first-floor timbers, huge, 
square, and massive, all red oak, and through 
long eld, of a rich and Indian color. So large 
were those timbers, and so thickly ranked, that 
to walk in those capacious cellars was much 
like walking along a line-of-battle ship s gun- 
deck. 

All the rooms in each story remained just 
as they stood ninety years ago with all their 
heavy-moulded, wooden cornices, paneled 
wainscots, and carved and inaccessible mantels 
of queer horticultural and zoological devices. 
Dim with longevity, the very covering of the 
walls still preserved the patterns of the times 
of Louis XVI. In the largest parlor (the 
drawing-room, my daughters called it, in dis 
tinction from two smaller parlors, though I did 

[89] 



JIMMY ROSE 

not think the distinction indispensable) the pa 
per hangings were in the most gaudy style. In 
stantly we knew such paper could only have 
come from Paris genuine Versailles paper 
the sort of paper that might have hung in 
Marie Antoinette s boudoir. It was of great 
diamond lozenges, divided by massive festoons 
of roses (onions, Biddy the girl said they were, 
but my wife soon changed Biddy s mind on 
that head) ; and in those lozenges, one and all, 
as in an over-arbored garden-cage, sat a grand 
series of gorgeous illustrations of the natural 
history of the most imposing Parisian-looking 
birds; parrots, macaws, and peacocks, but 
mostly peacocks. Real Prince Esterhazies of 
birds ; all rubies, diamonds and Orders of the 
Golden Fleece. But, alas ! the north side of this 
old apartment presented a strange look; half 
mossy and half mildew; something as ancient 
forest trees on their north sides, to which par 
ticular side the moss most clings, and where, 
they say, internal decay first strikes. In short, 
the original resplendence of the peacocks had 
been sadly dimmed on that north side of the 
room, owing to a small leak in the eaves, from 
which the rain had slowly trickled its way 

[90] 



JIMMY ROSE 

down the wall, clean down to the first floor. 
This leak the irreverent tenants, at that period 
occupying the premises, did not see fit to stop, 
or rather, did not think it worth their while, 
seeing that they only kept their fuel and dried 
their clothes in the parlor of the peacocks. 
Hence many of the glowing birds seemed as if 
they had their princely plumage bedraggled in 
a dusty shower. Most mournfully their starry 
trains were blurred. Yet so patiently and so 
pleasantly, nay, here and there so ruddily did 
they seem to hide their bitter doom, so much of 
real elegance still lingered in their shapes, and 
so full, too, seemed they of a sweet engaging 
pensiveness, meditating all day long, for years 
and years, among their faded bowers, that 
though my family repeatedly adjured me (es 
pecially my wife, who, I fear, was too young 
for me) to destroy the whole hen-roost, as Bid 
dy called it, and cover the walls with a beauti 
ful, nice, genteel, cream-colored paper, despite 
all entreaties, I could not be prevailed upon, 
however submissive in other things. 

But chiefly would I permit no violation of 
the old parlor of the peacocks or room of roses 
( I call it by both names) on account of its long 

[91] 



JIMMY ROSE 

association in my mind with one of the original 
proprietors of the mansion the gentle Jimmy 
Rose. 

Poor Jimmy Rose ! 

He was among my earliest acquaintances. It 
is not many years since he died ; and I and two 
other tottering old fellows took hack, and in 
sole procession followed him to his grave. 

Jimmy was born a man of moderate fortune. 
In his prime he had an uncommonly handsome 
person; large and manly, with bright eyes of 
blue, brown curling hair, and cheeks that 
seemed painted with carmine; but it was 
health s genuine bloom, deepened by the joy 
of life. He was by nature a great ladies man, 
and like most deep adorers of the sex, never 
tied up his freedom of general worship by 
making one willful sacrifice of himself at the 
altar. 

Adding to his fortune by a large and prince 
ly business, something like that of the great 
Florentine trader, Cosmo the Magnificent, he 
was enabled to entertain on a grand scale. For 
a long time his dinners, suppers and balls, were 
not to be surpassed by any given in the party- 
giving city of New York. His uncommon 

[92] 



JIMMY ROSE 

cheeriness ; the splendor of his dress ; his spark 
ling wit ; radiant chandeliers ; infinite fund of 
small-talk; French furniture; glowing wel 
comes to his guests; his bounteous heart and 
board ; his noble graces and his glorious wine ; 
what wonder if all these drew crowds to Jim 
my s hospitable abode? In the winter assem 
blies he figured first on the manager s list. 
James Rose, Esq., too, was the man to be 
found foremost in all presentations of plate to 
highly successful actors at the Park, or of 
swords and guns to highly successful generals 
in the field. Often, also, was he chosen to pre 
sent the gift on account of his fine gift of finely 
saying fine things. 

"Sir," said he, in a great drawing-room in 
Broadway, as he extended toward General 
G a brace of pistols set with turquoise, "Sir." 
said Jimmy with a Castilian flourish and a rosy 
smile, "there would have been more turquoise 
here set, had the names of your glorious vic 
tories left room." 

Ah, Jimmy, Jimmy! Thou didst excel in 
compliments. But it was inwrought with thy 
inmost texture to be affluent in all things which 
give pleasure. And who shall reproach thee 

[93] 



JIMMY ROSE 

with borrowed wit on this occasion, though bor 
rowed indeed it was? Plagiarize otherwise as 
they may, not often are the men of this world 
plagiarists in praise. 

But times changed. Time, true plagiarist of 
the seasons. 

Sudden and terrible reverses in business 
were made mortal by mad prodigality on all 
hands. When his affairs came to be scrutinized, 
it was found that Jimmy could not pay more 
than fifteen shillings in the pound. And yet in 
time the deficiency might have been made up 
of course, leaving Jimmy penniless had it not 
been that in one winter gale two vessels of his 
from China perished off Sandy Hook; per 
ished at the threshold of their port. 

Jimmy was a ruined man. 

It was years ago. At that period I resided in 
the country, but happened to be in the city on 
one of my annual visits. It was but four or five 
days since seeing Jimmy at his house the centre 
of all eyes, and hearing him at the close of the 
entertainment toasted by a brocaded lady, in 
these well-remembered words: "Our noble 
host ; the bloom on his cheek, may it last long as 
the bloom in his heart!" And they, the sweet 

[94] 



JIMMY ROSE 

ladies and gentlemen there, they drank that 
toast so gayly and frankly off; and Jimmy, 
such a kind, proud, grateful tear stood in his 
honest eye, angelically glancing round at the 
sparkling faces, and equally sparkling, and 
equally feeling, decanters. 

Ah! poor, poor Jimmy God guard us all 
poor Jimmy Rose ! 

Well, it was but four or five days after 
this that I heard a clap of thunder no, a clap 
of bad news. I was crossing the Bowling Green 
in a snow-storm not far from Jimmy s house on 
the Battery, when I saw a gentleman come 
sauntering along, whom I remembered at 
Jimmy s table as having been the first to spring 
to his feet in eager response to the lady s toast. 
Not more brimming the wine in his lifted glass 
than the moisture in his eye on that happy oc 
casion. 

Well, this good gentleman came sailing 
across the Bowling Green, swinging a silver- 
headed rattan ; seeing me, he paused: "Ah, lad, 
that was rare wine Jimmy gave us the other 
night. Sha n t get any more, though. Heard 
the news? Jimmy s burst. Clean smash, I as 
sure you. Come along down to the Coffee- 

[95] 



JIMMY ROSE 

house and I ll tell you more. And if you say so, 
we ll arrange over a bottle of claret for a 
sleighing party to Cato s to-night. Come 
along." 

"Thank you," said I, "I I I am en 
gaged." 

Straight as an arrow I went to Jimmy s. 
Upon inquiring for him, the man at the door 
told me that his master was not in ; nor did he 
know where he was ; nor had his master been in 
the house for forty-eight hours. 

Walking up Broadway again, I questioned 
passing acquaintances; but though each man 
verified the report, no man could tell where 
Jimmy was, and no one seemed to care, until I 
encountered a merchant, who hinted that prob 
ably Jimmy, having scraped up from the 
wreck a snug lump of coin, had prudently be 
taken himself off to parts unknown. The next 
man I saw, a great nabob he was too, foamed 
at the mouth when I mentioned Jimmy s name. 
"Rascal; regular scamp, Sir, is Jimmy Rose! 
But there are keen fellows after him." I after 
ward heard that this indignant gentleman had 
lost the sum of seventy-five dollars and seven 
ty-five cents indirectly through Jimmy s fail- 

[96] 



JIMMY ROSE 

ure. And yet I dare say the share of the dinners 
he had eaten at Jimmy s might more than have 
balanced that sum, considering that he was 
something of a wine-bibber, and such wines as 
Jimmy imported cost a plum or two. Indeed, 
now that I bethink me, I recall how I had more 
than once observed this same middle-aged gen 
tleman, and how that toward the close of one 
of Jimmy s dinners he would sit at the table 
pretending to be earnestly talking with beam 
ing Jimmy, but all the while, with a half fur 
tive sort of tremulous eagerness and hastiness, 
pour down glass after glass of noble wine, as if 
now, while Jimmy s bounteous sun was at me 
ridian, was the time to make his selfish hay. 

At last I met a person famed for his peculiar 
knowledge of whatever was secret or with 
drawn in the histories and habits of noted peo 
ple. When I inquired of this person where Jim 
my could possibly be, he took me close to Trini 
ty Church rail, out of the jostling of the crowd, 
and whispered me, that Jimmy had the even 
ing before entered an old house of his 
(Jimmy s), in C Street, which old house 
had been for a time untenanted. The inference 
seemed to be that perhaps Jimmy might be 

[97] 



JIMMY ROSE 

lurking there now. So getting the precise lo 
cality, I bent my steps in that direction, and at 
last halted before the house containing the 
room of roses. The shutters were closed, and 
cobwebs were spun in their crescents. The 
whole place had a dreary, deserted air. The 
snow lay unswept, drifted in one billowed heap 
against the porch, no footprint tracking it. 
Whoever was within, surely that lonely man 
was an abandoned one. Few or no people were 
in the street ; for even at that period one fash 
ion of the street had departed from it, while 
trade had not as yet occupied what its rival had 
renounced. 

Looking up and down the sidewalk a 
moment, I softly knocked at the door. No re 
sponse. I knocked again, and louder. No one 
came. I knocked and rung both; still without 
effect. In despair I was going to quit the spot, 
when, as a last resource, I gave a prolonged 
summons, with my utmost strength, upon the 
heavy knocker, and then again stood still; 
while from various strange old windows up and 
down the street, various strange old heads were 
thrust out in wonder at so clamorous a 
stranger. As if now frightened from its silence, 

[98] 



JIMMY ROSE 

a hollow, husky voice addressed me through 
the keyhole. 

"Who are you?" it said. 

"A friend." 

"Then shall you not come in," replied the 
voice, more hollowly than before. 

Great heavens! this is not Jimmy Rose, 
thought I, starting. This is the wrong house. 
I have been misdirected. But still, to make all 
sure, I spoke again. 

"Is James Rose within there?" 

No reply. 

Once more I spoke : 

"I am William Ford; let me in." 

"Oh, I can not, I can not! I am afraid of 
every one." 

It was Jimmy Rose! 

"Let me in, Rose ; let me in, man. I am your 
friend." 

"I will not. I can trust no man now." 

"Let me in, Rose; trust at least one, in me." 

"Quit the spot, or" 

With that I heard a rattling against the 
huge lock, not made by any key, as if some 
small tube were being thrust into the keyhole. 
Horrified, I fled fast as feet could carry me. 

[99] 



JIMMY ROSE 

I was a young man then, and Jimmy was not 
more than forty. It was five-and-twenty years 
ere I saw him again. And what a change. He 
whom I expected to behold if behold at all- 
dry, shrunken, meagre, cadaverously fierce 
with misery and misanthropy amazement! 
the old Persian roses bloomed in his cheeks. 
And yet poor as any rat ; poor in the last dregs 
of poverty; a pauper beyond almshouse pau 
perism; a promenading pauper in a thin, 
threadbare, careful coat ; a pauper with wealth 
of polished words ; a courteous, smiling, shiver 
ing gentleman. 

Ah, poor, poor Jimmy God guard us all- 
poor Jimmy Rose! 

Though at the first onset of his calamity, 
when creditors, once fast friends, pursued him 
as carrion for jails ; though then, to avoid their 
hunt, as well as the human eye, he had gone 
and denned in the old abandoned house; and 
there, in his loneliness, had been driven half 
mad, yet time and tide had soothed him down 
to sanity. Perhaps at bottom Jimmy was too 
thoroughly good and kind to be made from any 
cause a man-hater. And doubtless it at last 



[100] 



JIMMY ROSE 

seemed irreligious to Jimmy even to shun 
mankind. 

Sometimes sweet sense of duty will entice 
one to bitter doom. For what could be more bit 
ter now, in abject need, to be seen of those 
nay, crawl and visit them in an humble sort, 
and be tolerated as an old eccentric, wandering 
in their parlors who once had known him 
richest of the rich, and gayest of the gay ? Yet 
this Jimmy did. Without rudely breaking him 
right down to it, fate slowly bent him more and 
more to the lowest deep. From an unknown 
quarter he received an income of some seventy 
dollars, more or less. The principal he would 
never touch, but, by various modes of eking it 
out, managed to live on the interest. He lived 
in an attic, where he supplied himself with 
food. He took but one regular repast a day- 
meal and milk and nothing more, unless pro 
cured at others tables. Often about the tea- 
hour he would drop in upon some old acquaint 
ance, clad in his neat, forlorn frock coat, with 
worn velvet sewed upon the edges of the cuffs, 
and a similar device upon the hems of his 
pantaloons, to hide that dire look of having 
been grated off by rats. On Sunday he made a 

[101] 



JIMMY ROSE 

point of always dining at some fine house or 
other. 

It is evident that no man could with impuni 
ty be allowed to lead this life unless regarded 
as one who, free from vice, was by fortune 
brought so low that the plummet of pity alone 
could reach him. Not much merit redounded to 
his entertainers because they did not thrust the 
starving gentleman forth when he came for his 
alms of tea and toast. Some merit had been 
theirs had they clubbed together and provided 
him, at small cost enough, with a sufficient in 
come to make him, in point of necessaries, inde 
pendent of the daily dole of charity; charity 
not sent to him either, but charity for which he 
had to trudge round to their doors. 

But the most touching thing of all were those 
roses in his cheeks; those ruddy roses in his 
nipping winter. How they bloomed; whether 
meal or milk, and tea and toast could keep 
them flourishing; whether now he painted 
them ; by what strange magic they were made 
to blossom so; no son of man might tell. But 
there they bloomed. And besides the roses, 
Jimmy was rich in smiles. He smiled ever. The 
lordly door which received him to his eleemosy- 

[102] 



JIMMY ROSE 

nary teas, know no such smiling guest as 
Jimmy. In his prosperous days the smile of 
Jimmy was famous far and wide. It should 
have been trebly famous now. 

Wherever he went to tea, he had all of the 
news of the town to tell. By frequenting the 
reading-rooms, as one privileged through 
harmlessness, he kept himself informed of 
European affairs and the last literature, 
foreign and domestic. And of this, when en 
couragement was given, he would largely talk. 
But encouragement was not always given. 
At certain houses, and not a few, Jimmy 
would drop in about ten minutes before the 
tea-hour, and drop out again about ten 
minutes after it ; well knowing that his further 
presence was not indispensable to the content 
ment or felicity of his host. 

How forlorn it was to see him so heartily 
drinking the generous tea, cup after cup, and 
eating the flavorous bread and butter, piece 
after piece, when, owing to the lateness of the 
dinner hour with the rest, and the abundance of 
that one grand meal with them, no one besides 
Jimmy touched the bread and butter, or ex 
ceeded a single cup of Souchong. And know- 

[103] 



JIMMY ROSE 

ing all this very well, poor Jimmy would try to 
hide his hunger, and yet gratify it too, by striv 
ing hard to carry on a sprightly conversation 
with his hostess, and throwing in the eagerest 
mouthfuls with a sort of absent-minded air, as 
if he ate merely for custom s sake, and not 
starvation s. 

Poor, poor Jimmy God guard us all 
poor Jimmy Rose! 

Neither did Jimmy give up his courtly ways. 
Whenever there were ladies at the table, sure 
were they of some fine word; though, indeed, 
toward the close of Jimmy s life, the young 
ladies rather thought his compliments some 
what musty, smacking of cocked hats and small 
clothes nay, of old pawnbrokers shoulder- 
lace and sword belts. For there still lingered in 
Jimmy s address a subdued sort of martial air; 
he having in his palmy days been, among other 
things, a general of the State militia. There 
seems a fatality in these militia generalships. 
Alas ! I can recall more than two or three gen 
tlemen who from militia generals became pau 
pers. I am afraid to think why this is so. Is it 
that this military learning in a man of an un- 
military heart that is, a gentle, peaceable 

* 

[104] 



JIMMY ROSE 

heart is an indication of some weak love of 
vain display? But ten to one it is not so. At any 
rate, it is unhandsome, if not unchristian, in the 
happy, too much to moralize on those who are 
not so. 

So numerous were the houses that Jimmy 
visited, or so cautious was he in timing his less 
welcome calls, that at certain mansions he only 
dropped in about once a year or so. And annu 
ally upon seeing at that house the blooming 
Miss Frances or Miss Arabella, he would pro 
foundly bow in his forlorn old coat, and with 
his soft, white hand take hers in gallant-wise, 
saying, "Ah, Miss Arabella, these jewels here 
are bright upon these fingers; but brighter 
would they look were it not for those still 
brighter diamonds of your eyes! " 

Though in thy own need thou hadst no pence 
to give the poor, thou, Jimmy, still hadst alms 
to give the rich. For not the beggar chattering 
at the corner pines more after bread than the 
vain heart after compliment. The rich in their 
craving glut, as the poor in their craving want, 
we have with us always. So, I suppose, thought 
Jimmy Rose. 

But all women are not vain, or if a little 

[105] 



JIMMY ROSE 

grain that way inclined, more than redeem it 
all with goodness. Such was the sweet girl that 
closed poor Jimmy s eyes. The only daughter 
of an opulent alderman, she knew Jimmy well, 
and saw to him in his declining days. During 
his last sickness, with her own hands she carried 
him jellies and blanc-mange; made tea for him 
in his attic, and turned the poor old gentleman 
in his bed. And well hadst thou deserved it, 
Jimmy, at that fair creature s hands; well 
merited to have the old eyes closed by woman s 
fairy fingers, who through life, in riches and in 
poverty, was still woman s sworn champion 
and devotee. 

I hardly know that I should mention here 
one little incident connected with this young 
lady s ministrations, and poor Jimmy s recep 
tion of them. But it is harm to neither; I will 
tell it. 

Chancing to be in town, and hearing of Jim 
my s illness, I went to see him. And there in his 
lone attic I found the lovely ministrant. With 
drawing upon seeing another visitor, she left 
me alone with him. She had brought some little 
delicacies, and also several books, of such a sort 
as are sent by serious-minded well-wishers to 

[106] 



JIMMY ROSE 

invalids in a serious crisis. Now whether it was 
repugnance at being considered next door to 
death, or whether it was but the natural peev- 
ishment brought on by the general misery of 
his state; however it was, as the gentle girl 
withdrew, Jimmy, with what small remains of 
strength were his, pitched the books into the 
furthest corner, murmuring, "Why will she 
bring me this sad old stuff? Does she take me 
for a pauper? Thinks she to salve a gentle 
man s heart with Poor Man s Plaster?" 

Poor, poor Jimmy God guard us all- 
poor Jimmy Rose ! 

Well, well, I am an old man, and I suppose 
these tears I drop are dribblets from my dot 
age. But Heaven be praised, Jimmy needs no 
man s pity now. 

Jimmy Rose is dead ! 

Meantime, as I sit within the parlor of the 
peacocks that chamber from which his husky 
voice had come ere threatening me with the 
pistol I still must meditate upon his strange 
example, whereof the marvel is, how after that 
gay, dashing, nobleman s career, he could be 
content to crawl through life, and peep about 
the marbles and mahoganies for contumelious 

[107] 



JIMMY ROSE 

tea and toast, where once like a very Warwick 
he had feasted the huzzaing world with Bur 
gundy and venison. 

And every time I look at the wilted re 
splendence of those proud peacocks on the 
wall, I bethink me of the withering change in 
Jimmy s once resplendent pride of state. But 
still again, every time I gaze upon those fes 
toons of perpetual roses, mid which the faded 
peacocks hang, I bethink me of those undying 
roses which bloomed in ruined Jimmy s cheek. 

Transplanted to another soil, all the unkind 
past forgot, God grant that Jimmy s roses may 
immortally survive! 



[108] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 



I AND my chimney, two grey-headed old 
smokers, reside in the country. We are, I 
may say, old settlers here ; particularly my old 
chimney, which settles more and more every 
day. 

Though I always say, I and my chimney, as 
Cardinal Wolsey used to say, (f l and my 
King yet this egotistic way of speaking, 
wherein I take precedence of my chimney, is 
hereby borne out by the facts; in everything, 
except the above phrase, my chimney taking 
precedence of me. 

Within thirty feet of the turf-sided road, my 
chimney a huge, corpulent old Harry VIII 
of a chimney rises full in front of me and all 
my possessions. Standing well up a hillside, 
my chimney, like Lord Rosse s monster tele 
scope, swung vertical to hit the meridian moon, 
is the first object to greet the approaching 
traveler s eye, nor is it the last which the sun 

[109] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

salutes. My chimney, too, is before me in re 
ceiving the first-fruits of the seasons. The snow 
is on its head ere on my hat ; and every spring, 
as in a hollow beech tree, the first swallows 
build their nests in it. 

But it is within doors that the pre-eminence 
of my chimney is most manifest. When in the 
rear room, set apart for that object, I stand to 
receive my guests (who, by the way call more, 
I suspect, to see my chimney than me) I then 
stand, not so much before, as, strictly speaking, 
behind my chimney, which is, indeed, the true 
host. Not that I demur. In the presence of my 
betters, I hope I know my place. 

From this habitual precedence of my chim 
ney over me, some even think that I have got 
into a sad rearward way altogether; in short, 
from standing behind my old-fashioned chim 
ney so much, I have got to be quite behind the 
age too, as well as running behindhand in ev 
erything else. But to tell the truth, I never was 
a very forward old fellow, nor what my farm 
ing neighbors call a forehanded one. Indeed, 
those rumors about my behindhandedness are 
so far correct, that I have an odd sauntering 
way with me sometimes of going about with my 

[110] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

hands behind my back. As for my belonging to 
the rear-guard in general, certain it is, I bring 
up the rear of my chimney which, by the way, 
is this moment before me and that, too, both 
in fancy and fact. In brief, my chimney is my 
superior ; my superior by I know not how many 
heads and shoulders ; my superior, too, in that 
humbly bowing over with shovel and tongs, I 
much minister to it; yet never does it minister, 
or incline over to me; but, if anything, in its 
settlings, rather leans the other way. 

My chimney is grand seignior here the one 
great domineering object, not more of the 
landscape, than of the house; all the rest of 
which house, in each architectural arrange 
ment, as may shortly appear, is, in the most 
marked manner, accommodated, not to my 
wants, but to my chimney s, which, among 
other things, has the centre of the house to him 
self, leaving but the odd holes and corners to 
me. 

But I and my chimney must explain ; and as 
we are both rather obese, we may have to expa 
tiate. 

In those houses which are strictly double 
houses that is, where the hall is in the middle 

[in] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

the fireplaces usually are on opposite sides; 
so that while one member of the household is 
warming himself at a fire built into a recess 
of the north wall, say another member, the 
former s own brother, perhaps, may be holding 
his feet to the blaze before a hearth in the south 
wall the two thus fairly sitting back to back. 
Is this well? Be it put to any man who has a 
proper fraternal feeling. Has it not a sort of 
sulky appearance ? But very probably this style 
of chimney building originated with some 
architect afflicted with a quarrelsome family. 

Then again, almost every modern fireplace 
has its separate flue separate throughout, 
from hearth to chimney-top. At least such an 
arrangement is deemed desirable. Does not 
this look egotistical, selfish? But still more, all 
these separate flues, instead of having indepen 
dent masonry establishments of their own, or 
instead of being grouped together in one fed 
eral stock in the middle of the house instead 
of this, I say, each flue is surreptitiously honey 
combed into the walls; so that these last are 
here and there, or indeed almost anywhere, 
treacherously hollow, and, in consequence, 
more or less weak. Of course, the main reason 

[ 112 ] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

of this style of chimney building is to econo 
mize room. In cities, where lots are sold by the 
inch, small space is to spare for a chimney con 
structed on magnanimous principles; and, as 
with most thin men, who are generally tall, so 
with such houses, what is lacking in breadth, 
must be made up in height. This remark holds 
true even with regard to many very stylish 
abodes, built by the most stylish of gentlemen. 
And yet, when that stylish gentleman, Louis le 
Grand of France, would build a palace for his 
lady friend, Madame de Maintenon, he built 
it but one story high in fact in the cottage 
style. But then, how uncommonly quadrangu 
lar, spacious, and broad horizontal acres, not 
vertical ones. Such is the palace, which, in all 
its one-storied magnificence of Languedoc 
marble, in the garden of Versailles, still re 
mains to this day. Any man can buy a square 
foot of land and plant a liberty-pole on it ; but 
it takes a king to set apart whole acres for a 
grand triannon. 

But nowadays it is different; and further 
more, what originated in a necessity has been 
mounted into a vaunt. In towns there is large 
rivalry in building tall houses. If one gentle- 

[113] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

man builds his house four stories high, and an 
other gentleman comes next door and builds 
five stories high, then the former, not to be 
looked down upon that way, immediately sends 
for his architect and claps a fifth and a sixth 
story on top of his previous four. And, not till 
the gentleman has achieved his aspiration, not 
till he has stolen over the way by twilight and 
observed how his sixth story soars beyond his 
neighbor s fifth not till then does he retire to 
his rest with satisfaction. 

Such folks, it seems to me, need mountains 
for neighbors, to take this emulous conceit of 
soaring out of them. 

If, considering that mine is a very wide 
house, and by no means lofty, aught in the 
above may appear like interested pleading, as 
if I did but fold myself about in the cloak of a 
general proposition, cunningly to tickle my in 
dividual vanity beneath it, such misconception 
must vanish upon my frankly conceding, that 
land adjoining my alder swamp was sold last 
month for ten dollars an acre, and thought a 
rash purchase at that ; so that for wide houses 
hereabouts there is plenty of room, and cheap. 
Indeed so cheap dirt cheap is the soil, that 

[114] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

our elms thrust out their roots in it, and hang 
their great boughs over it, in the most lavish 
and reckless way. Almost all our crops, too, are 
sown broadcast, even peas and turnips. A 
farmer among us, who should go about his 
twenty-acre field, poking his finger into it here 
and there, and dropping down a mustard seed, 
would be thought a penurious, narrow-minded 
husbandman. The dandelions in the river- 
meadows, and the forget-me-nots along the 
mountain roads, you see at once they are put to 
no economy in space. Some seasons, too, our 
rye comes up here and there a spear, sole and 
single like a church-spire. It doesn t care to 
crowd itself where it knows there is such a deal 
of room. The world is wide, the world is all be 
fore us, says the rye. Weeds, too, it is amazing 
how they spread. No such thing as arresting 
them some of our pastures being a sort of 
Alsatia for the weeds. As for the grass, every 
spring it is like Kossuth s rising of what he 
calls the peoples. Mountains, too, a regular 
camp-meeting of them. For the same reason, 
the same all-sufficiency of room, our shadows 
march and countermarch, going through their 
various drills and masterly evolutions, like the 

[115] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

old imperial guard on the Champs de Mars. 
As for the hills, especially where the roads 
cross them the supervisors of our various 
towns have given notice to all concerned, that 
they can come and dig them down and cart 
them off, and never a cent to pay, no more than 
for the privilege of picking blackberries. The 
stranger who is buried here, what liberal- 
hearted landed proprietor among us grudges 
him six feet of rocky pasture? 

Nevertheless, cheap, after all, as our land is, 
and much as it is trodden under foot, I, for one, 
am proud of it for what it bears ; and chiefly for 
its three great lions the Great Oak, Ogg 
Mountain, and my chimney. 

Most houses, here, are but one and a half 
stories high ; few exceed two. That in which I 
and my chimney dwell, is in width nearly twice 
its height, from sill to eaves which accounts 
for the magnitude of its main content besides 
showing that in this house, as in this country at 
large, there is abundance of space, and to 
spare, for both of us. 

The frame of the old house is of wood 
which but the more sets forth the solidity of the 
chimney, which is of brick. And as the great 

[116] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

wrought nails, binding the clapboards, are un 
known in these degenerate days, so are the 
huge bricks in the chimney walls. The architect 
of the chimney must have had the pyramid of 
Cheops before him; for, after that famous 
structure, it seems modeled, only its rate of de 
crease towards the summit is considerably less, 
and it is truncated. From the exact middle of 
the mansion it soars from the cellar, right up 
through each successive floor, till, four feet 
square, it breaks water from the ridge-pole of 
the roof, like an anvil-headed whale, through 
the crest of a billow. Most people, though, 
liken it, in that part, to a razed observatory, 
masoned up. 

The reason for its peculiar appearance 
above the roof touches upon rather delicate 
ground. How shall I reveal that, forasmuch as 
many years ago the original gable roof of the 
old house had become very leaky, a temporary 
proprietor hired a band of woodmen, with their 
huge, cross-cut saws, and went to sawing the 
old gable roof clean off. Off it went, with all its 
birds nests, and dormer windows. It was re 
placed with a modern roof, more fit for a rail 
way wood-house than an old country gentle- 

[117] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

man s abode. This operation razeeing the 
structure some fifteen feet was, in effect 
upon the chimney, something like the falling of 
the great spring tides. It left uncommon low 
water all about the chimney to abate which 
appearance, the same person now proceeds to 
slice fifteen feet off the chimney itself, actually 
beheading my royal old chimney a regicidal 
act, which, were it not for the palliating fact 
that he was a poulterer by trade, and, there 
fore, hardened to such neck-wringings, should 
send that former proprietor down to posterity 
in the same cart with Cromwell. 

Owing to its pyramidal shape, the reduction 
of the chimney inordinately widened its razeed 
summit. Inordinately, I say, but only in the es 
timation of such as have no eye to the pictur 
esque. What care I, if, unaware that my chim 
ney, as a free citizen of this free land, stands 
upon an independent basis of its own, people 
passing it, wonder how such a brick-kiln, as 
they call it, is supported upon mere joists and 
rafters ? What care I ? I will give a traveler a 
cup of switchel, if he want it ; but am I bound 
to supply him with a sweet taste? Men of cul 
tivated minds see, in my old house and 

[118] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

chimney, a goodly old elephant-and-castle. 

All feeling hearts will sympathize with me 
in what I am now about to add. The surgi 
cal operation, above referred to, necessarily 
brought into the open air a part of the chimney 
previously under cover, and intended to re 
main so, and, therefore, not built of what are 
called weather-bricks. In consequence, the 
chimney, though of a vigorous constitution, 
suffered not a little, from so naked an expos- 
sure; and, unable to acclimate itself, ere long 
began to fail showing blotchy symptoms akin 
to those in measles. Whereupon travelers, 
passing my way, would wag their heads, laugh 
ing; "See that wax nose how it melts off!" 
But what cared I? The same travelers would 
travel across the sea to view Kenilworth peel 
ing away, and for a very good reason : that of 
all artists of the picturesque, decay wears the 
palm I would say, the ivy. In fact, I ve often 
thought that the proper place for my old chim 
ney is ivied old England. 

In vain my wife with what probable ul 
terior intent will, ere long, appear solemnly 
warned me, that unless something were done, 
and speedily, we should be burnt to the ground, 

[119] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

owing to the holes crumbling through the 
aforesaid blotchy parts, where the chimney 
joined the roof. "Wife," said I, "far better that 
my house should burn down, than that my 
chimney should be pulled down, though but a 
few feet. They call it a wax nose; very good; 
not for me to tweak the nose of my superior." 
But at last the man who has a mortgage on the 
house dropped me a note, reminding me that, 
if my chimney was allowed to stand in that in 
valid condition, my policy of insurance would 
be void. This was a sort of hint not to be neg 
lected. All the world over, the picturesque 
yields to the pocketesque. The mortgagor 
cared not, but the mortgagee did. 

So another operation was performed. The 
wax nose was taken off, and a new one fitted 
on. Unfortunately for the expression being 
put up by a squint-eyed mason, who, at the 
time, had a bad stitch in the same side the new 
nose stands a little awry, in the same direction. 

Of one thing, however, I am proud. The 
horizontal dimensions of the new part are 
unreduced. 

Large as the chimney appears upon the roof, 
that is nothing to its spaciousness below. At its 

[ 120 ] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

base in the cellar, it is precisely twelve feet 
square ; and hence covers precisely one hundred 
and forty-four superficial feet. What an ap 
propriation of terra firma for a chimney, and 
what a huge load for this earth ! In fact, it was 
only because I and my chimney formed no part 
of his ancient burden, that that stout peddler, 
Atlas of old, was enabled to stand up so brave 
ly under his pack. The dimensions given may, 
perhaps, seem fabulous. But, like those stones 
at Gilgal, which Joshua set up for a memorial 
of having passed over Jordan, does not my 
chimney remain, even unto this day? 

Very often I go down into my cellar, and at 
tentively survey that vast square of masonry. 
I stand long, and ponder over, and wonder 
at it. It has a druidical look, away down in 
the umbrageous cellar there whose numerous 
vaulted passages, and far glens of gloom, 
resemble the dark, damp depths of primeval 
woods. So strongly did this conceit steal over 
me, so deeply was I penetrated with wonder at 
the chimney, that one day when I was a little 
out of my mind, I now think getting a spade 
from the garden, I set to work, digging round 
the foundation, especially at the corners there- 

[121] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

of, obscurely prompted by dreams of striking 
upon some old, earthen- worn memorial of that 
by-gone day, when, into all this gloom, the 
light of heaven entered, as the masons laid the 
foundation-stones, peradventure sweltering 
under an August sun, or pelted by a March 
storm. Plying my blunted spade, how vexed 
was I by that ungracious interruption of a 
neighbor who, calling to see me upon some bus 
iness, and being informed that I was below said 
I need not be troubled to come up, but he 
would go down to me; and so, without cere 
mony, and without my having been forewarned, 
suddenly discovered me, digging in my cellar. 

"Gold digging, sir?" 

"Nay, sir," answered I, starting, "I was 
merely ahem! merely I say I was merely 
digging round my chimney." 

"Ah, loosening the soil, to make it grow. 
Your chimney, sir, you regard as too small, I 
suppose; needing further development, espe 
cially at the top?" 

"Sir!" said I, throwing down the spade, "do 
not be personal. I and my chimney 

"Personal?" 

"Sir, I look upon this chimney less as a pile 

[122] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

of masonry than as a personage. It is the king 
of the house. I am but a suffered and inferior 
subject." 

In fact, I would permit no gibes to be cast at 
either myself or my chimney ; and never again 
did my visitor refer to it in my hearing, with 
out coupling some compliment with the men 
tion. It well deserves a respectful considera 
tion. There it stands, solitary and alone not a 
council of ten flues, but, like his sacred 
majesty of Russia, a unit of an autocrat. 

Even to me, its dimensions, at times, seem 
incredible. It does not look so big no, not 
even in the cellar. By the mere eye, its magni 
tude can be but imperfectly comprehended, be 
cause only one side can be received at one time ; 
and said side can only present twelve feet, lin 
ear measure. But then, each other side also is 
twelve feet long; and the whole obviously 
forms a square and twelve times twelve is one 
hundred and forty-four. And so, an adequate 
conception of the magnitude of this chimney is 
only to be got at by a sort of process in the 
higher mathematics by a method somewhat 
akin to those whereby the surprising distances 
of fixed stars are computed. 

[123] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

It need hardly be said, that the walls of my 
house are entirely free from fireplaces. These 
all congregate in the middle in the one grand 
central chimney, upon all four sides of which 
are hearths two tiers of hearths so that 
when, in the various chambers, my family and 
guests are warming themselves of a cold win 
ter s night, just before retiring, then, though 
at the time they may not be thinking so, all their 
faces mutually look towards each other, yea, 
all their feet point to one centre; and, when 
they go to sleep in their beds, they all sleep 
round one warm chimney, like so many Iro- 
quois Indians, in the woods, round their one 
heap of embers. And just as the Indians fire 
serves, not only to keep them comfortable, but 
also to keep off wolves, and other savage mon 
sters, so my chimney, by its obvious smoke at 
top, keeps off prowling burglars from the 
towns for what burglar or murderer would 
dare break into an abode from whose chimney 
issues such a continual smoke betokening that 
if the inmates are not stirring, at least fires are, 
and in case of an alarm, candles may readily 
be lighted, to say nothing of muskets. 

But stately as is the chimney yea, grand 

[124] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

high altar as it is, right worthy for the celebra 
tion of high mass before the Pope of Rome, 
and all his cardinals yet what is there perfect 
in this world? Cams Julius Caesar, had he not 
been so inordinately great, they say that Bru 
tus, Cassius, Antony, and the rest, had been 
greater. My chimney, were it not so mighty in 
its magnitude, my chambers had been larger. 
How often has my wife ruefully told me, that 
my chimney, like the English aristocracy, casts 
a contracting shade all round it. She avers that 
endless domestic inconveniences arise more 
particularly from the chimney s stubborn cen 
tral locality. The grand objection with her is, 
that it stands midway in the place where a 
fine entrance-hall ought to be. In truth, there 
is no hall whatever to the house nothing but a 
sort of square landing-place, as you enter from 
the wide front door. A roomy enough landing- 
place, I admit, but not attaining to the dignity 
of a hall. ISTow, as the front door is precisely in 
the middle of the front of the house, inwards it 
faces the chimney. In fact, the opposite wall of 
the landing-place is formed solely by the chim 
ney; and hence owing to the gradual taper 
ing of the chimney is a little less than twelve 

[125] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

feet in width. Climbing the chimney in this 
part, is the principal staircase which, by 
three abrupt turns, and three minor landing- 
places, mounts to the second floor, where, over 
the front door, runs a sort of narrow gallery, 
something less than twelve feet long, leading 
to chambers on either hand. This gallery, of 
course, is railed ; and so, looking down upon the 
stairs, and all those landing-places together, 
with the main one at bottom, resembles not a 
little a balcony for musicians, in some jolly 
old abode, in times Elizabethan. Shall I tell a 
weakness? I cherish the cobwebs there, and 
many a time arrest Biddy in the act of brushing 
them with her broom, and have many a quarrel 
with my wife and daughters about it. 

Now the ceiling, so to speak, of the place 
where you enter the house, that ceiling is, in 
fact, the ceiling of the second floor, not the 
first. The two floors are made one here ; so that 
ascending this turning stairs, you seem going 
up into a kind of soaring tower, or lighthouse. 
At the second landing, midway up the chim 
ney, is a mysterious door, entering to a myster 
ious closet; and here I keep mysterious cor 
dials, of a choice, mysterious flavor, made so by 

[126] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

the constant nurturing and subtle ripening of 
the chimney s gentle heat, distilled through 
that warm mass of masonry. Better for wines 
is it than voyages to the Indias; my chimney 
itself a tropic. A chair by my chimney in a No 
vember day is as good for an invalid as a long- 
season spent in Cuba. Often I think how 
grapes might ripen against my chimney. How 
my wife s geraniums bud there! Bud in De 
cember. Her eggs, too can t keep them near 
the chimney, an account of the hatching. Ah, a 
warm heart has my chimney. 

How often my wife was at me about that 
projected grand entrance-hall of hers, which 
was to be knocked clean through the chimney, 
from one end of the house to the other, and as 
tonish all guests by its generous amplitude. 
"But, wife," said I, "the chimney consider 
the chimney: if you demolish the foundation, 
w r hat is to support the superstructure?" "Oh, 
that will rest on the second floor." The truth is, 
women know next to nothing about the reali 
ties of architecture. However, my wife still 
talked of running her entries and partitions. 
She spent many long nights elaborating her 
plans ; in imagination building her boasted hall 

[127] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

through the chimney, as though its high mighti 
ness were a mere spear of sorrel-top. At last, I 
gently reminded her that, little as she might 
fancy it, the chimney was a fact a sober, sub 
stantial fact, which, in all her plannings, it 
would be well to take into full consideration. 
But this was not of much avail. 

And here, respectfully craving her permis 
sion, I must say a few words about this enter 
prising wife of mine. Though in years nearly 
old as myself, in spirit she is young as my little 
sorrel mare, Trigger, that threw me last fall. 
What is extraordinary, though she comes of a 
rheumatic family, she is straight as a pine, 
never has any aches ; while for me with the sci 
atica, I am sometimes as crippled up as any 
old apple-tree. But she has not so much as a 
toothache. As for her hearing let me enter the 
house in my dusty boots, and she away up in 
the attic. And for her sight Biddy, the house 
maid, tells other people s housemaids, that her 
mistress will spy a spot on the dresser straight 
through the pewter platter, put up on purpose 
to hide it. Her faculties are alert as her limbs 
and her senses. No danger of my spouse dying 
of torpor. The longest night in the year I ve 

[128] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

known her lie awake, planning her campaign 
for the morrow. She is a natural projector. The 
maxim, "Whatever is, is right," is not hers. 
Her maxim is, Whatever is, is wrong; and 
what is more, must be altered ; and what is still 
more, must be altered right away. Dreadful 
maxim for the wife of a dozy old dreamer like 
me, who dote on seventh days as days of rest, 
and out of a sabbatical horror of industry, will, 
on a week day, go out of my road a quarter of 
a mile, to avoid the sight of a man at work. 

That matches are made in heaven, may be, 
but my wife would have been just the wife for 
Peter the Great, or Peter the Piper. How she 
would have set in order that huge littered em 
pire of the one, and with indefatigable pains 
taking picked the peck of pickled peppers for 
the other. 

But the most wonderful thing is, my wife 
never thinks of her end. Her youthful incredul 
ity, as to the plain theory, and still plainer fact 
of death, hardly seems Christian. Advanced in 
years, as she knows she must be, my wife seems 
to think that she is to teem on, and be inex 
haustible forever. She doesn t believe in old 
age. At that strange promise in the plain of 

[129] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

Mamre, my old wife, unlike old Abraham s, 
would not have jeeringly laughed within her 
self. 

Judge how to me, who, sitting in the com 
fortable shadow of my chimney, smoking my 
comfortable pipe, with ashes not unwelcome at 
my feet, and ashes not unwelcome all but in my 
mouth; and who am thus in a comfortable 
sort of not unwelcome, though, indeed, ashy 
enough way, reminded of the ultimate exhaus 
tion even of the most fiery life; judge how to 
me this unwarrantable vitality in my wife must 
come, sometimes, it is true, with a moral and a 
calm, but of tener with a breeze and a ruffle. 

If the doctrine be true, that in wedlock con 
traries attract, by how cogent a fatality must 
I have been drawn to my wife! While spicily 
impatient of present and past, like a glass of 
ginger-beer she overflows with her schemes; 
and, with like energy as she puts down her 
foot, puts down her preserves and her pickles, 
and lives with them in a continual future; or 
ever full of expectations both from time and 
space, is ever restless for newspapers, and rav 
enous for letters. Content with the years that 
are gone, taking no thought for the morrow, 

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I AND MY CHIMNEY 

and looking for no new thing from any person 
or quarter whatever, I have not a single scheme 
or expectation on earth, save in unequal resist 
ance of the undue encroachment of hers. 

Old myself, I take to oldness in things ; for 
that cause mainly loving old Montague, and 
old cheese, and old wine ; and eschewing young 
people, hot rolls, new books, and early potatoes 
and very fond of my old claw- footed chair, and 
old club-footed Deacon White, my neighbor, 
and that still nigher old neighbor, my be- 
twisted old grape-vine, that of a summer even 
ing leans in his elbow for cosy company at my 
window-sill, while I, within doors, lean over 
mine to meet his ; and above all, high above all, 
am fond of my high-mantled old chimney. But 
she, out of the infatuate juvenility of hers, 
takes to nothing but newness; for that cause 
mainly, loving new cider in autumn, and in 
spring, as if she were own daughter of Nebu 
chadnezzar, fairly raving after all sorts of sal 
ads and spinages, and more particularly green 
cucumbers (though all the time nature rebukes 
such unsuitable young hankerings in so elderly 
a person, by never permitting such things to 
agree with her) , and has an itch after recently- 

[131] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

discovered fine prospects (so no graveyard be 
in the background), and also after Sweden- 
borganism, and the Spirit Rapping philoso 
phy, with other new views, alike in things na 
tural and unnatural ; and immortally hopeful, 
is forever making new flower-beds even on the 
north side of the house, where the bleak moun 
tain wind would scarce allow the wiry weed 
called hard-hack to gain a thorough footing; 
and on the road-side sets out mere pipe-stems 
of young elms ; though there is no hope of any 
shade from them, except over the ruins of her 
great granddaughter s gravestones ; and won t 
wear caps, but plaits her gray hair ; and takes 
the Ladies Magazine for the fashions ; and al 
ways buys her new almanac a month before the 
new year ; and rises at dawn ; and to the warm 
est sunset turns a cold shoulder ; and still goes 
on at odd hours with her new course of history, 
and her French, and her music; and likes a 
young company ; and offers to ride young colts ; 
and sets out young suckers in the orchard; and 
has a spite against my elbowed old grape-vine, 
and my club-footed old neighbor, and my claw- 
footed old chair, and above all, high above all, 
would fain persecute, until death, my high- 

[132] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

mantled old chimney. By what perverse magic, 
I a thousand times think, does such a very au 
tumnal old lady have such a very vernal young 
soul ? When I would remonstrate at times, she 
spins round on me with, "Oh, don t you grum 
ble, old man (she always calls me old man) , it s 
I, young I, that keep you from stagnating." 
Well, I suppose it is so. Yea, after all, these 
things are well ordered. My wife, as one of her 
poor relations, good soul, intimates, is the salt 
of the earth, and none the less the salt of my 
sea, which otherwise were unwholesome. She is 
its monsoon, too, blowing a brisk gale over it, 
in the one steady direction of my chimney. 

Not insensible of her superior energies, my 
wife has frequently made me propositions to 
take upon herself all the responsibilities of my 
affairs. She is desirous that, domestically, I 
should abdicate ; that, renouncing further rule, 
like the venerable Charles Y, I should retire 
into some sort of monastery. But indeed, the 
chimney excepted, I have little authority to lay 
down. By my wife s ingenious application of 
the principle that certain things belong of right 
to female jurisdiction, I find myself, through 
my easy compliances, insensibly stripped by 

[133] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

degrees of one masculine prerogative after an 
other. In a dream I go about my fields, a sort 
of lazy, happy-go-lucky, good-for-nothing, 
loafing old Lear. Only by some sudden revela 
tion am I reminded who is over me; as year 
before last, one day seeing in one corner of the 
premises fresh deposits of mysterious boards 
and timbers, the oddity of the incident at 
length begat serious meditation. "Wife," said 
I, "whose boards and timbers are those I see 
near the orchard there ? Do you know anything 
about them, wife? Who put them there? You 
know I do not like the neighbors to use my land 
that way; they should ask permission first." 

She regarded me with a pitying smile. 

"Why, old man, don t you know I am build 
ing a new barn? Didn t you know that, old 



man?" 



This is the poor old lady who was accusing 
me of tyrannizing over her. 

To return now to the chimney. Upon being 
assured of the futility of her proposed hall, so 
long as the obstacle remained, for a time my 
wife was for a modified project. But I could 
never exactly comprehend it. As far as I could 
see through it, it seemed to involve the general 

[134] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

idea of a sort of irregular archway, or elbowed 
tunnel, which was to penetrate the chimney at 
some convenient point under the staircase, and 
carefully avoiding dangerous contact with the 
fireplaces, and particularly steering clear of 
the great interior flue, was to conduct the en 
terprising traveler from the front door all the 
way into the dining-room in the remote rear of 
the mansion. Doubtless it was a bold stroke of 
genius, that plan of hers, and so was Nero s 
when he schemed his grand canal through the 
Isthmus of Corinth. Nor will I take oath, that, 
had her project been accomplished, then, by 
help of lights hung at judicious intervals 
through the tunnel, some Belzoni or other 
might have succeeded in future ages in pene 
trating through the masonry, and actually 
emerging into the dining-room, and once there, 
it would have been inhospitable treatment of 
such a traveler to have denied him a recruiting 
meal. 

But my bustling wife did not restrict her ob 
jections, nor in the end confine her proposed 
alterations to the first floor. Her ambition was 
of the mounting order. She ascended with her 
schemes to the second floor, and so to the attic. 

[135] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

Perhaps there was some small ground for her 
discontent with things as they were. The truth 
is, there was no regular passage-way up-stairs 
or down, unless we again except that little or 
chestra-gallery before mentioned. And all this 
was owing to the chimney, which my game 
some spouse seemed despitefully to regard as 
the bully of the house. On all its four sides, 
nearly all the chambers sidled up to the chim 
ney for the benefit of a fireplace. The chimney 
would not go to them; they must needs go to 
it. The consequence was, almost every room, 
like a philosophical system, was in itself an en 
try, or passage-way to other rooms, and sys 
tems of rooms a whole suite of entries, in fact. 
Going through the house, you seem to be for 
ever going somewhere, and getting nowhere. 
It is like losing one s self in the woods ; round 
and round the chimney you go, and if you ar 
rive at all, it is just where you started, and so 
you begin again, and again get nowhere. In 
deed though I say it not in the way of fault 
finding at all never was there so labyrinthine 
an abode. Guests will tarry with me several 
weeks and every now and then, be anew aston 
ished at some unforseen apartment. 

[136] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

The puzzling nature of the mansion, result 
ing from the chimney, is peculiarly noticeable 
in the dining-room, which has no less than nine 
doors, opening in all directions, and into all 
sorts of places. A stranger for the first time en 
tering this dining-room, and naturally taking 
no special heed at which door he entered, will, 
upon rising to depart, commit the strangest 
blunders. Such, for instance, as opening the 
first door that comes handy, and finding him 
self stealing up-stairs by the back passage. 
Shutting that he will proceed to another, and 
be aghast at the cellar yawning at his feet. Try 
ing a third, he surprises the housemaid at her 
work. In the end, no more relying on his own 
unaided efforts, he procures a trusty guide in 
some passing person, and in good time success 
fully emerges. Perhaps as curious a blunder as 
any, was that of a certain stylish young gentle 
man, a great exquisite, in whose judicious eyes 
my daughter Anna had found especial favor. 
He called upon the young lady one evening, 
and found her alone in the dining-room at her 
needlework. He stayed rather late ; and after 
abundance of superfine discourse, all the while 
retaining his hat and cane, made his profuse 

[137] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

adieus, and with repeated graceful bows pro 
ceeded to depart, after fashion of courtiers 
from the Queen, and by so doing, opening a 
door at random, with one hand placed behind, 
very effectually succeeded in backing himself 
into a dark pantry, where he carefully shut 
himself up, wondering there was no light in the 
entry. After several strange noises as of a cat 
among the crockery, he reappeared through the 
same door, looking uncommonly crestfallen, 
and, with a deeply embarrassed air, requested 
my daughter to designate at which of the nine 
he should find exit. When the mischievous 
Anna told me the story, she said it was surpris 
ing how unaffected and matter-of-fact the 
young gentleman s manner was after his re 
appearance. He was more candid than ever, to 
be sure ; having inadvertently thrust his white 
kids into an open drawer of Havana sugar, un 
der the impression, probably, that being what 
they call "a sweet fellow," his route might pos 
sibly lie in that direction. 

Another inconvenience resulting from the 
chimney is, the bewilderment of a guest in 
gaining his chamber, many strange doors lying 
between him and it. To direct him by finger- 

[138] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

posts would look rather queer; and just as 
queer in him to be knocking at every door on 
his route, like London s city guest, the king, at 
Temple-Bar. 

Now, of all these things and many, many 
more, my family continually complained. At 
last my wife came out with her sweeping 
proposition in toto to abolish the chimney. 

"What!" said I, "abolish the chimney? To 
take out the backbone of anything, wife, is a 
hazardous affair. Spines out of backs, and 
chimneys out of houses, are not to be taken like 
frosted lead pipes from the ground. Besides/ 
added I, "the chimney is the one grand perma 
nence of this abode. If undisturbed by innova 
tors, then in future ages, when all the house 
shall have crumbled from it, this chimney will 
still survive a Bunker Hill monument. No, 
no, wife, I can t abolish my backbone." 

So said I then. But who is sure of himself, 
especially an old man, with both wife and 
daughters ever at his elbow and ear? In time, 
I was persuaded to think a little better of it ; in 
short, to take the matter into preliminary con 
sideration. At length it came to pass that a 
master-mason a rough sort of architect one 

[139] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

Mr. Scribe, was summoned to a conference. I 
formally introduced him to my chimney. A 
previous introduction from my wife had intro 
duced him to myself. He had been not a little 
employed by that lady, in preparing plans and 
estimates for some of her extensive operations 
in drainage. Having, with much ado, exhorted 
from my spouse the promise that she would 
leave us to an unmolested survey, I began by 
leading Mr. Scribe down to the root of the mat 
ter, in the cellar. Lamp in hand, I descended ; 
for though up-stairs it was noon, below it was 
night. 

We seemed in the pyramids ; and I, with one 
hand holding my lamp over head, and with the 
other pointing out, in the obscurity, the hoar 
mass of the chimney, seemed some Arab guide, 
showing the cobwebbed mausoleum of the 
great god Apis. 

"This is a most remarkable structure, sir," 
said the master-mason, after long contemplat 
ing it in silence, "a most remarkable structure, 



sir." 



so." 



"Yes," said I complacently, "every one says 

55 

"But large as it appears above the roof, I 
[140] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

would not have inferred the magnitude of this 
foundation, sir," eyeing it critically. 

Then taking out his rule, he measured it. 

"Twelve feet square; one hundred and for 
ty-four square feet! Sir, this house would ap 
pear to have been built simply for the accom 
modation of your chimney." 

"Yes, my chimney and me. Tell me candidly, 
now," I added, "would you have such a famous 
chimney abolished?" 

"I wouldn t have it in a house of mine, sir, 
for a gift," was the reply. "It s a losing affair 
altogether, sir. Do you know, sir, that in re 
taining this chimney, you are losing, not only 
one hundred and forty-four square feet of 
good ground, but likewise a considerable inter 
est upon a considerable principal?" 

"How?" 

"Look, sir!" said he, taking a bit of red chalk 
from his pocket, and figuring against a white 
washed wall, "twenty times eight is so and so; 
then forty-two times thirty-nine is so and so 
ain t it, sir? Well, add those together, and sub 
tract this here, then that makes so and so," still 
chalking away. 

To be brief, after no small ciphering, Mr. 

[141] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

Scribe informed me that my chimney con 
tained, I am ashamed to say how many 
thousand and odd valuable bricks. 

"No more," said I fidgeting. "Pray now, let 
us have a look above." 

In that upper zone we made two more cir 
cumnavigations for the first and second floors. 
That done, we stood together at the foot of the 
stairway by the front door; my hand upon the 
knob, and Mr. Scribe hat in hand. 

"Well, sir," said he, a sort of feeling his way, 
and, to help himself, fumbling with his hat, 
"well, sir, I think it can be done." 

"What, pray, Mr. Scribe; what can be 
done?" 

"Your chimney, sir; it can without rashness 
be removed, I think." 

"I will think of it, too, Mr. Scribe," said I, 
turning the knob and bowing him towards the 
open space without, "I will think of it, sir; it 
demands consideration; much obliged to ye; 
good morning, Mr. Scribe." 

"It is all arranged, then," cried my wife with 
great glee, bursting from the nighest room. 

"When will they begin?" demanded my 
daughter Julia. 

[142] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

"To-morrow?" asked Anna. 

"Patience, patience, my dears," said I, "such 
a big chimney is not to be abolished in a 
minute." 

Next morning it began again. 

"You remember the chimney," said my wife. 

"Wife," said I, "it is never out of my house 
and never out of my mind." 

"But when is Mr. Scribe to begin to pull it 
down?" asked Anna. 

"Not to-day, Anna," said I. 

"When, then?" demanded Julia, in alarm. 

Now, if this chimney of mine was, for size, 
a sort of belfry, for ding-donging at me about 
it, my wife and daughters were a sort of bells, 
always chiming together, or taking up each 
other s melodies at every pause, my wife the 
key-clapper of all. A very sweet ringing, and 
pealing, and chiming, I confess ; but then, the 
most silvery of bells may, sometimes, dismally 
toll, as well as merrily play. And as touching 
the subject in question, it became so now. Per 
ceiving a strange relapse of opposition in me, 
wife and daughters began a soft and dirge-like, 
melancholy tolling over it. 

At length my wife, getting much excited, de- 

[143] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

clared to me, with pointed finger, that so long 
as that chimney stood, she should regard it as 
the monument of what she called my broken 
pledge. But finding this did not answer, the 
next day, she gave me to understand that either 
she or the chimney must quit the house. 

Finding matters coming to such a pass, I and 
my pipe philosophized over them awhile, and 
finally concluded between us, that little as our 
hearts went with the plan, yet for peace sake, 
I might write out the chimney s death-warrant, 
and, while my hand was in, scratch a note to 
Mr. Scribe. 

Considering that I, and my chimney, and 
my pipe, from having been so much together, 
were three great cronies, the facility with which 
my pipe consented to a project so fatal to the 
goodliest of our trio; or rather, the way in 
which I and my pipe, in secret, conspired to 
gether, as it were, against our unsuspicious old 
comrade this may seem rather strange, if not 
suggestive of sad reflections upon us two. But, 
indeed, we, sons of clay, that is my pipe and I, 
are no whit better than the rest. Far from us, 
indeed, to have volunteered the betrayal of our 
crony. We are of a peaceable nature, too. But 

[144] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

that love of peace it was which made us false to 
a mutual friend, as soon as his cause demanded 
a vigorous vindication. But, I rejoice to add, 
that better and braver thoughts soon returned, 
as will now briefly be set forth. 

To my note, Mr. Scribe replied in person. 

Once more we made a survey, mainly now 
with a view to a pecuniary estimate. 

"I will do it for five hundred dollars," said 
Mr. Scribe at last, again hat in hand. 

"Very well, Mr. Scribe, I will think of it," 
replied I, again bowing him to the door. 

Not unvexed by this, for the second time, 
unexpected response, again he withdrew, and 
from my wife, and daughters again burst the 
old exclamations. 

The truth is, resolved how I would, at the last 
pinch I and my chimney could not be parted. 

"So Holof ernes will have his way, never 
mind whose heart breaks for it," said my wife 
next morning, at breakfast, in that half -didac 
tic, half-reproachful way of hers, which is hard 
er to bear than her most energetic assault. Hol 
of ernes, too, is with her a pet name for any fell 
domestic despot. So, whenever, against her 
most ambitious innovations, those which saw 

[145] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

me quite across the grain, I, as in the present 
instance, stand with however little steadfast 
ness on the defence, she is sure to call me Holo- 
f ernes, and ten to one takes the first opportun 
ity to read aloud, with a suppressed emphasis, 
of an evening, the first newspaper paragraph 
about some tyrannic day-laborer, who, after 
being for many years the Caligula of his fam 
ily, ends by beating his long-suffering spouse 
to death, with a garret door wrenched off its 
hinges, and then, pitching his little innocents 
out of the window, suicidally turns inward 
towards the broken wall scored with the 
butcher s and baker s bills, and so rushes head 
long to his dreadful account. 

Nevertheless, for a few days, not a little to 
my surprise, I heard no further reproaches. 
An intense calm pervaded my wife, but be 
neath which, as in the sea, there was no know 
ing what portentous movements might be go 
ing on. She frequently went abroad, and in a 
direction which I thought not unsuspicious: 
namely, in the direction of New Petra, a grif 
fin-like house of wood and stucco, in the highest 
style of ornamental art, graced with four chim 
neys in the form of erect dragons spouting 

[146] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

smoke from their nostrils ; the elegant modern 
residence of Mr. Scribe, which he had built for 
the purpose of a standing advertisement, not 
more of his taste as an architect, than his so 
lidity as a master-mason. 

At last, smoking my pipe one morning, I 
heard a rap at the door, and my wife, with an 
air unusually quiet for her brought me a note. 
As I have no correspondents except Solomon, 
with whom in his sentiments, at least, I entirely 
correspond, the note occasioned me some little 
surprise, which was not dismissed upon reading 
the following: 

NEW PETRA, April 1st. 

SIR During my last examination of your chimney, 
possibly you may have noted that I frequently applied 
my rule to it in a manner apparently unnecessary. Pos 
sibly, also, at the same time, you might have observed in 
me more or less of perplexity, to which, however, I re 
frained from giving any verbal expression. 

I now feel it obligatory upon me to inform you of what 
was then but a dim suspicion, and as such would have 
been unwise to give utterance to, but which now, from 
various subsequent calculations assuming no little prob 
ability, it may be important that you should not remain 
in further ignorance of. 

[147] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

It is my solemn duty to warn you, sir, that there is 
architectural cause to conjecture that somewhere con 
cealed in your chimney is a reserved space, hermetically 
closed, in short, a secret chamber, or rather closet. How 
long it has been there, it is for me impossible to say. 
What it contains is hid, with itself, in darkness. But 
probably a secret closet would not have been contrived 
except for some extraordinary object, whether for the 
concealment of treasure, or for what other purpose, may 
be left to those better acquainted with the history of the 
house to guess. 

But enough: in making this disclosure, sir, my con 
science is eased. Whatever step you choose to take upon 
it, is of course a matter of indifference to me ; though, I 
confess, as respects the character of the closet, I cannot 
but share in a natural curiosity. 

Trusting that you may be guided aright, in determin 
ing whether it is Christian-like knowingly to reside in a 
house, hidden in which is a secret closet, 
I remain, 

W r ith much respect, 

Yours very humbly, 
HIRAM SCRIBE. 

My first thought upon reading this note was, 
not of the alleged mystery of manner to which, 
at the outset, it alluded for none such had I 
at all observed in the master-mason during his 
surveys but of my late kinsman, Captain Ju- 

[148] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

lianDacres, long a ship-master and merchant in 
the Indian trade, who, about thirty years ago, 
and at the ripe age of ninety, died a bachelor, 
and in this very house, which he had built. He 
was supposed to have retired into this country 
with a large fortune. But to the general sur 
prise, after being at great cost in building him 
self this mansion, he settled down into a sedate, 
reserved and inexpensive old age, which by the 
neighbors was thought all the better for his 
heirs: but lo! upon opening the will, his prop 
erty was found to consist but of the house and 
grounds, and some ten thousand dollars in 
stocks; but the place, being found heavily 
mortgaged, was in consequence sold. Gossip 
had its day, and left the grass quietly to 
creep over the captain s grave, where he still 
slumbers in a privacy as unmolested as if the 
billows of the Indian Ocean, instead of the bil 
lows of inland verdure, rolled over him. Still, I 
remembered long ago, hearing strange solu 
tions whispered by the country people for the 
mystery involving his will, and, by reflex, him 
self; and that, too, as well in conscience as 
purse. But people who could circulate the re 
port (which they did), that Captain Julian 

[149] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

Dacres had, in his day, been a Borneo pirate, 
surely were not worthy of credence in their col 
lateral notions. It is queer what wild whimsies 
of rumors will, like toadstools, spring up about 
any eccentric stranger, who settling down 
among a rustic population, keeps quietly to 
himself. With some, inoffensiveness would 
seem a prime cause of offense. But what chiefly 
had led me to scout at these rumors, particular 
ly as referring to concealed treasure, was the 
circumstance, that the stranger (the same who 
razeed the roof and the chimney) into whose 
hands the estate had passed on my kinsman s 
death, was of that sort of character, that had 
there been the least ground for those reports, 
he would speedily have tested them, by tearing 
down and rummaging the walls. 

Nevertheless, the note of Mr. Scribe, so 
strangely recalling the memory of my kins 
man, very naturally chimed in with what had 
been mysterious, or at least unexplained, about 
him; vague flashings of ingots united in my 
mind with vague gleamings of skulls. But the 
first cool thought soon dismissed such chime 
ras ; and, with a calm smile, I turned towards 
my wife, who, meantime, had been sitting near 

[150] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

by, impatient enough, I dare say, to know who 
could have taken it into his head to write me a 
letter. 

"Well, old man," said she, "who is it from, 
and what is it about?" 

"Read it, wife," said I, handing it. 

Read it she did, and then such an explo 
sion! I will not pretend to describe her emo 
tions, or repeat her expressions. Enough that 
my daughters were quickly called in to share 
the excitement. Although they had never 
dreamed of such a revelation as Mr. Scribe s ; 
yet upon the first suggestion they instinctively 
saw the extreme likelihood of it. In corrobora- 
tion, they cited first my kinsman, and second, 
my chimney ; alleging that the profound mys 
tery involving the former, and the equally pro 
found masonry involving the latter, though 
both acknowledged facts, were alike prepos 
terous on any other supposition than the secret 
closet. 

But all this time I was quietly thinking to 
myself : Could it be hidden from me that my 
credulity in this instance would operate very 
favorably to a certain plan of theirs? How to 
get to the secret closet, or how to have any cer- 

[151] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

tainty about it at all, without making such fell 
work with my chimney as to render its set de 
struction superfluous ? That my wife wished to 
get rid of the chimney, it needed no reflection 
to show; and that Mr. Scribe, for all his pre 
tended disinterestedness, was not opposed to 
pocketing five hundred dollars by the opera 
tion, seemed equally evident. That my wife 
had, in secret, laid heads together with Mr. 
Scribe, I at present refrain from affirming. But 
when I consider her enmity against my chim 
ney, and the steadiness with which at the last 
she is wont to carry out her schemes, if by hook 
or crook she can, especially after having been 
once baffled, why, I scarcely knew at what step 
of hers to be surprised. 

Of one thing only was I resolved, that I and 
my chimney should not budge. 

In vain all protests. Next morning I went 
out into the road, where I had noticed a diaboli 
cal-looking old gander, that, for its doughty 
exploits in the way of scratching into forbidden 
inclosures, had been rewarded by its master 
with a portentous, four-pronged, wooden deco 
ration, in the shape of a collar of the Order of 
the Garotte. This gander I cornered and rum- 

[152] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

maging out its stiff est quill, plucked it, took it 
home, and making a stiff pen, inscribed the fol 
lowing stiff note : 

CHIMNEY SIDE, April 2. 
Mr. Scribe 

SIR: For your conjecture, we return you our joint 
thanks and compliments, and beg leave to assure you, 
that 

We shall remain, 

Very faithfully, 
The same, 

I AND MY CHIMNEY. 

Of course, for this epistle we had to endure 
some pretty sharp raps. But having at last ex 
plicitly understood from me that Mr. Scribe s 
note had not altered my mind one jot, my wife, 
to move me, among other things said, that if 
she remembered aright, there was a statute 
placing the keeping in .private of secret closets 
on the same unlawful footing with the keeping 
of gunpowder. But it had no effect. 

A few days after, my spouse changed her 
key. 

It was nearly midnight, and all were in bed 
but ourselves, who sat up, one in each chimney- 
corner; she, needles in hand, indefatigably 

[153] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

knitting a sock; I, pipe in mouth, indolently 
weaving my vapors. 

It was one of the first of the chill nights in 
autumn. There was a fire on the hearth, burn 
ing low. The air without was torpid and heavy ; 
the wood, by an oversight, of the sort called 
soggy. 

"Do look at the chimney," she began; "can t 
you see that something must be in it?" 

"Yes, wife. Truly there is smoke in the chim 
ney, as in Mr. Scribe s note." 

"Smoke? Yes, indeed, and in my eyes, too. 
How you two wicked old sinners do smoke ! 
this wicked old chimney and you." 

"Wife," said I, "I and my chimney like to 
have a quiet smoke together, it is true, but we 
don t like to be called names." 

"Now, dear old man," said she, softening 
down, and a little shifting the subject, "when 
you think of that old kinsman of yours, you 
know there must be a secret closet in this 
chimney." 

"Secret ash-hole, wife, why don t you have 
it? Yes, I dare say there is a secret ash-hole in 
the chimney ; for where do all the ashes go to 
that drop down the queer hole yonder?" 

[ 1-54 ] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

"I know where they go to ; I ve been there al 
most as many times as the cat." 

"What devil, wife, prompted you to crawl 
into the ash-hole? Don t you know that St. 
Dunstan s devil emerged from the ash-hole? 
You will get your death one of these days, ex 
ploring all about as you do. But supposing 
there be a secret closet, what then?" 

"What then? why what should be in a secret 
closet but " 

"Dry bones, wife," broke in I with a puff, 
while the sociable old chimney broke in with 
another. 

"There again! Oh, how this wretched old 
chimney smokes," wiping her eyes with her 
handkerchief. "I ve no doubt the reason it 
smokes so is, because that secret closet inter 
feres with the flue. Do see, too, how the jambs 
here keep settling; and it s down hill all the 
way from the door to this hearth. This horrid 
old chimney will fall on our heads yet ; depend 
upon it, old man." 

"Yes, wife, I do depend on it; yes indeed, I 
place every dependence on my chimney. As for 
its settling, I like it. I, too, am settling, you 
know, in my gait. I and my chimney are set- 

[155] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

tling together, and shall keep settling, too, till, 
as in a great feather-bed, we shall both have 
settled away clean out of sight. But this secret 
oven; I mean, secret closet of yours, wife; 
where exactly do you suppose that secret closet 
is?" 

"That is for Mr. Scribe to say." 

"But suppose he cannot say exactly; what, 
then?" 

"Why then he can prove, I am sure, that it 
must be somewhere or other in this horrid old 
chimney." 

"And if he can t prove that; what, then?" 

"Why then, old man," with a stately air, "I 
shall say little more about it." 

"Agreed, wife," returned I, knocking my 
pipe-bowl against the jamb, "and now, to-mor 
row, I will for a third time send for Mr. Scribe. 
Wife, the sciatica takes me; be so good as to 
put this pipe on the mantel." 

"If you get the step-ladder for me, I will. 
This shocking old chimney, this abominable 
old-fashioned old chimney s mantels are so 
high, I can t reach them." 

No opportunity, however trivial, was over 
looked for a subordinate fling at the pile. 

[156] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

Here, by way of introduction, it should be 
mentioned, that besides the fireplaces all 
round it, the chimney was, in the most hap 
hazard way, excavated on each floor for certain 
curious out-of-the-way cupboards and closets, 
of all sorts and sizes, clinging here and there, 
like nests in the crotches of some old oak. On 
the second floor these closets were by far the 
most irregular and numerous. And yet this 
should hardly have been so, since the theory of 
the chimney was, that it pyramidically dimin 
ished as it ascended. The abridgment of its 
square on the roof was obvious enough ; and it 
was supposed that the reduction must be 
methodically graduated from bottom to top. 

"Mr. Scribe," said I when, the next day, 
with an eager aspect, that individual again 
came, "my object in sending for you this morn 
ing is, not to arrange for the demolition of my 
chimney, nor to have any particular conversa 
tion about it, but simply to allow you every rea 
sonable facility for verifying, if you can, the 
conjecture communicated in your note." 

Though in secret not a little crestfallen, it 
may be, by my phlegmatic reception, so dif 
ferent from what he had looked for ; with much 

[157] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

apparent alacrity he commenced the survey; 
throwing open the cupboards on the first floor, 
and peering into the closets on the second; 
measuring one within, and then comparing 
that measurement with the measurement with 
out. Removing the fireboards, he would gaze 
up the flues. But no sign of the hidden work 

yet. 

Now, on the second floor the rooms were the 
most rambling conceivable. They, as it were, 
dovetailed into each other. They were of all 
shapes; not one mathematically square room 
among them all a peculiarity which by the 
master-mason had not been unobserved. With 
a significant, not to say portentous expression, 
he took a circuit of the chimney, measuring the 
area of each room around it ; then going down 
stairs, and out of doors, he measured the entire 
ground area ; then compared the sum total of 
the areas of all the rooms on the second floor 
with the ground area ; then, returning to me in 
no small excitement, announced that there was 
a difference of no less than two hundred and 
odd square feet room enough, in all con 
science, for a secret closet. 

"But, Mr. Scribe," said I, stroking my chin, 

[158] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

"have you allowed for the walls, both main 
and sectional? They take up some space, you 
know." 

"Ah, I had forgotten that," tapping his 
forehead; "but," still ciphering on his paper, 
"that will not make up the deficiency." 

"But, Mr. Scribe, have you allowed for the 
recesses of so many fireplaces on a floor, and 
for the fire-walls, and the flues ; in short, Mr. 
Scribe, have you allowed for the legitimate 
chimney itself some one hundred and forty- 
four square feet or thereabouts, Mr. Scribe?" 

"How unaccountable. That slipped my 
mind, too." 

"Did it, indeed, Mr. Scribe?" 

He faltered a little, and burst forth with, 
"But we must now allow one hundred and for 
ty-four square feet for the legitimate chimney. 
My position is, that within those undue limits 
the secret closet is contained." 

I eyed him in silence a moment ; then spoke : 

"Your survey is concluded, Mr. Scribe ; be so 
good now as to lay your finger upon the exact 
part of the chimney wall where you believe this 
secret closet to be ; or would a witch-hazel wand 
assist you, Mr. Scribe?" 

[159] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

"No, sir, but a crowbar would," he, with 
temper, rejoined. 

Here, now, thought I to myself, the cat leaps 
out of the bag. I looked at him with a calm 
glance, under which he seemed somewhat un 
easy. More than ever now I suspected a plot. 
I remembered what my wife had said about 
abiding by the decision of Mr. Scribe. In a 
bland way, I resolved to buy up the decision 
of Mr. Scribe. 

"Sir," said I, "really, I am much obliged to 
you for this survey. It has quite set my mind at 
rest. And no doubt you, too, Mr. Scribe, must 
feel much relieved. Sir," I added, "y u have 
made three visits to the chimney. With a busi 
ness man, time is money. Here are fifty dollars, 
Mr. Scribe. Nay, take it. You have earned it. 
Your opinion is worth it. And by the way,"- 
as he modestly received the money "have you 
any objections to give me a a little certifi 
cate something, say, like a steamboat certifi 
cate, certifying that you, a competent survey 
or, have surveyed my chimney, and found no 
reason to believe any unsoundness; in short, 
any any secret closet in it. Would you be so 
kind, Mr. Scribe?" 

[160] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

"But, but, sir," stammered he with honest 
hesitation. 

"Here, here are pen and paper," said I, with 
entire assurance. 

Enough. 

That evening I had the certificate framed 
and hung over the dining-room fireplace, 
trusting that the continual sight of it would 
forever put at rest at once the dreams and 
stratagems of my household. 

But, no. Inveterately bent upon the extir 
pation of that noble old chimney, still to this 
day my wife goes about it, with my daughter 
Anna s geological hammer, tapping the wall 
all over, and then holding her ear against it, 
as I have seen the physicians of life insurance 
companies tap a man s chest, and then incline 
over for the echo. Sometimes of nights she al 
most frightens one, going about on this phan 
tom errand, and still following the sepulchral 
response of the chimney, round and round, as if 
it were leading her to the threshold of the se 
cret closet. 

"How hollow it sounds," she will hollowly 
cry. "Yes, I declare," with an emphatic tap, 

[161] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

"there is a secret closet here. Here, in this very 
spot. Hark! How hollow!" 

"Psha! wife, of course it is hollow. Who ever 
heard of a solid chimney?" But nothing avails. 
And my daughters take after, not me, but their 
mother. 

Sometimes all three abandon the theory of 
the secret closet and return to the genuine 
ground of attack the unsightliness of so cum 
brous a pile, with comments upon the great ad 
dition of room to be gained by its demolition, 
and the fine effect of the projected grand 
hall, and the convenience resulting from the 
collateral running in one direction and another 
of their various partitions. Not more ruthlessly 
did the Three Powers partition away poor 
Poland, than my wife and daughters would 
fain partition away my chimney. 

But seeing that, despite all, I and my chim 
ney still smoke our pipes, my wife reoccupies 
the ground of the secret closet, enlarging upon 
what wonders are there, and what a shame it 
is, not to seek it out and explore it. 

"Wife," said I, upon one of these occasions, 
"why speak more of that secret closet, when 
there before you hangs contrary testimony of 

[162] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

a master mason, elected by yourself to decide. 
Besides, even if there were a secret closet, 
secret it should remain, and secret it shall. Yes, 
wife, here for once I must say my say. Infinite 
sad mischief has resulted from the profane 
bursting open of secret recesses. Though stand 
ing in the heart of this house, though hitherto 
we have all nestled about it, unsuspicious of 
aught hidden within, this chimney may or may 
not have a secret closet. But if it have, it is my 
kinsman s. To break into that wall, would be to 
break into his breast. And that wall-breaking 
wish of Momus I account the wish of a church- 
robbing gossip and knave. Yes, wife, a vile 
eavesdropping varlet was Momus." 

"Moses? Mumps? Stuff with your mumps 
and Moses?" 

The truth is, my wife, like all the rest of the 
world, cares not a fig for philosophical jabber. 
In dearth of other philosophical companion 
ship, I and my chimney have to smoke and 
philosophize together. And sitting up so late 
as we do at it, a mighty smoke it is that we two 
smoky old philosophers make. 

But my spouse, who likes the smoke of my 
tobacco as little as she does that of the soot, 

[163] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

carries on her war against both. I live in con 
tinual dread lest, like the golden bowl, the 
pipes of me and my chimney shall yet be bro 
ken. To stay that mad project of my wife s, 
naught answers. Or, rather, she herself is in 
cessantly answering, incessantly besetting me 
with her terrible alacrity for improvement, 
which is a softer name for destruction. Scarce 
a day I do not find her with her tape-measure, 
measuring for her grand hall, while Anna 
holds a yardstick on one side, and Julia looks 
approvingly on from the other. Mysterious in 
timations appear in the nearest village paper, 
signed "Claude," to the effect that a certain 
structure, standing on a certain hill, is a sad 
blemish to an otherwise lovely landscape. 
Anonymous letters arrive, threatening me with 
I know not what, unless I remove my chimney. 
Is it my wife, too, or who, that sets up the 
neighbors to badgering me on the same sub 
ject, and hinting to me that my chimney, like a 
huge elm, absorbs all moisture from my gar 
den? At night, also, my wife will start as from 
sleep, professing to hear ghostly noises from 
the secret closet. Assailed on all sides, and in 
all ways, small peace have I and my chimney. 

[164] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

Were it not for the baggage, we would to 
gether pack up and remove from the country. 

What narrow escapes have been ours ! Once 
I found in a drawer a whole portfolio of plans 
and estimates. Another time, upon returning 
after a day s absence, I discovered my wife 
standing before the chimney in earnest con 
versation with a person whom I at once recog 
nized as a meddlesome architectural reformer, 
who, because he had no gift for putting up any 
thing was ever intent upon pulling them down ; 
in various parts of the country having pre 
vailed upon half-witted old folks to destroy 
their old-fashioned houses, particularly the 
chimneys. 

But worst of all was, that time I unexpect 
edly returned at early morning from a visit to 
the city, and upon approaching the house, nar 
rowly escaped three brickbats which fell, from 
high aloft, at my feet. Glancing up, what was 
my horror to see three savages, in blue jean 
overalls, in the very act of commencing the 
long-threatened attack. Aye, indeed, thinking 
of those three brickbats, I and my chimney 
have had narrow escapes. 

It is now some seven years since I have 

[165] 



I AND MY CHIMNEY 

stirred from my home. My city friends all 
wonder why I don t come to see them, as in 
former times. They think I am getting sour 
and unsocial. Some say that I have become a 
sort of mossy old misanthrope, while all the 
time the fact is, I am simply standing guard 
over my mossy old chimney; for it is resolved 
between me and my chimney, that I and my 
chimney will never surrender. 



[166] 



THE PARADISE OF BACHELORS 
AND THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 

THE PARADISE or BACHELORS 

IT lies not far from Temple-Bar. 
Going to it, by the usual way, is like stealing 
from the heated plain into some cool, deep 
glen, shady among the harboring hills. 

Sick with the din and soiled with the mud of 
Fleet Street where the Benedick tradesmen 
are hurrying by, with ledger-lines ruled along 
their brows; thinking upon rise of bread and 
fall of babies you adroitly turn a mystic 
corner not a street glide down a dim, mon 
astic way, flanked by dark, sedate, and solemn 
piles, and still wending on, give the whole care 
worn world the slip, and, disentangled, stand 
beneath the quiet cloisters of the Paradise of 
Bachelors. 

Sweet are the oases in Sahara; charming the 
isle-groves of August prairies ; delectable pure 
faith amidst a thousand perfidies : but sweeter, 
still more charming, more delectable, the 

[167] 



THE PARADISE OF BACHELORS 

dreamy Paradise of Bachelors, found in the 
stony heart of stunning London. 

In mild meditation pace the cloisters ; take 
your pleasure, sip your leisure, in the garden 
waterward ; go linger in the ancient library ; go 
worship in the sculptured chapel; but little 
have you seen, just nothing do you know, not 
the kernel have you tasted, till you dine among 
the banded Bachelors, and see their convivial 
eyes and glasses sparkle. Not dine in bustling 
commons, during term-time, in the hall; but 
tranquilly, by private hint, at a private table ; 
some fine Templar s hospitality invited guest. 

Templar? That s a romantic name. Let me 
see. Brian de Bois Gilbert was a Templar, I be 
lieve. Do we understand you to insinuate that 
those famous Templars still survive in modern 
London? May the ring of their armed heels be 
heard, and the rattle of their shields, as in 
mailed prayer the monk-knights kneel before 
the consecrated Host? Surely a monk-knight 
were a curious sight picking his way along the 
Strand, his gleaming corselet and snowy sur- 
coat spattered by an omnibus. Long-bearded, 
too, according to his order s rule ; his face fuzzy 
as a pard s; how would the grim ghost look 

[168] 



THE PARADISE OF BACHELORS 

among the crop-haired, close-shaven citizens. 
We know indeed sad history recounts it 
that a moral blight tainted at last this sacred 
Brotherhood. Though no s worded foe might 
outskill them in the fence, yet the work of lux 
ury crawled beneath their guard, gnawing the 
core of knightly troth, nibbling the monastic 
vows, till at last the monk s austerity relaxed to 
wassailing, and the sworn knights-bachelors 
grew to be but hypocrites and rakes. 

But for all this, quite unprepared were we to 
learn that Knights-Templars (if at all in be 
ing) were so entirely secularized as to be re 
duced from carving out immortal fame in glo 
rious battling for the Holy Land, to the carving 
of roast mutton at a dinner-board. Like Anac- 
reon, do these degenerate Templars now think 
it sweeter far to fall in banquet hall than in 
war? Or, indeed, how can there be any survival 
of that famous order? Templars in modern 
London! Templars in their red-cross mantles 
smoking cigars at the Divan ! Templars crowd 
ed in a railway train, till, stacked with steel 
helmet, spear, and shield, the whole train looks 
like one elongated locomotive ! 

No. The genuine Templar is long since de- 

[169] 



THE PARADISE OF BACHELORS 

parted. Go view the wondrous tombs in the 
Temple Church ; see there the rigidly-haughty 
forms stretched out, with crossed arms upon 
their stilly hearts, in everlasting undreaming 
rest. Like the years before the flood, the bold 
Knights-Templars are no more. Nevertheless, 
the name remains, and the nominal society, and 
the ancient grounds, and some of the ancient 
edifices. But the iron heel is changed to a boot 
of patent-leather; the long two-handed sword 
to a one-handed quill; the monk-giver of gra 
tuitous ghostly counsel now counsels for a fee ; 
the defender of the sarcophagus (if in good 
practice with his weapon) now has more than 
one case to defend; the vowed opener and 
clearer of all highways leading to the Holy 
Sepulchre, now has it in particular charge to 
check, to clog, to hinder, and embarrass all the 
courts and avenues of Law; the Knight-com 
batant of the Saracen, breasting spear-point at 
Acre, now fights law-points in Westminster 
Hall. The helmet is a wig. Struck by Time s 
enchanter s wand, the Templar is to-day a 
Lawyer. 

But, like many others tumbled from proud 
glory s height, like the apple, hard on the bough 

[170] 



THE PARADISE OF BACHELORS 

but mellow on the ground, the Templar s fall 
has but made him all the finer fellow. 

I dare say those old warrior-priests were but 
gruff and grouty at the best ; cased in Birming 
ham hardware, how could their crimped arms 
give yours or mine a hearty shake? Their 
proud, ambitious, monkish souls clasped shut, 
like horn-book missals ; their very faces clapped 
in bomb-shells ; what sort of genial men were 
these? But best of comrades, most affable of 
hosts, capital diner is the modern Templar. His 
wit and wine are both of sparkling brands. 

The church and cloisters, courts and vaults, 
lanes and passages, banquet-halls, refectories, 
libraries, terraces, gardens, broad walks, domi- 
cils, and dessert-rooms, covering a very large 
space of ground, and all grouped in central 
neighborhood and quite sequestered from the 
old city s surrounding din; and everything 
about the place being kept in most bachelor- 
like particularity, no part of London offers a 
quiet wight so agreeable a refuge. 

The Temple is, indeed, a city by itself. A city 
with all the best appurtenances, as the above 
enumeration shows. A city with a park to it, 
and flower-beds, and a riverside the Thames 

[171] 



THE PARADISE OF BACHELORS 

flowing by as openly, in one part, as by Eden s 
primal garden flowed the mild Euphrates. In 
what is now the Temple Garden the old Crusa 
ders used to exercise their steeds and lances; 
the modern Templars now lounge on the 
benches beneath the trees, and switching their 
patent-leather boots, in gay discourse exercise 
at repartee. 

Long lines of stately portraits in the ban 
quet-halls, show what great men of mark fa 
mous nobles, judges, and Lord Chancellors- 
have in their time been Templars. But all 
Templars are not known to universal fame; 
though, if the having warm hearts and warmer 
welcomes, full minds and fuller cellars, and 
giving good advice and glorious dinners, spiced 
with rare divertisements of fun and fancy, 
merit immortal mention, set down, ye muses, 
the names of R.F.C. and his imperial brother. 

Though to be a Templar, in the one true 
sense, you must needs be a lawyer, or a student 
at the law, and be ceremoniously enrolled as 
member of the order, yet as many such, though 
they may have their offices there, just so, on the 
other hand, there are many residents of the 
hoary old domicils who are not admitted 

[172] 



THE PARADISE OF BACHELORS 

Templars. If being, say, a lounging gentleman 
and bachelor, or a quiet, unmarried literary 
man, charmed with the soft seclusion of the 
spot, you much desire to pitch your shady tent 
among the rest in this serene encampment, then 
you must make some special friend among the 
order, and procure him to rent, in his name but 
at your charge, whatever vacant chamber you 
may find to suit. 

Thus, I suppose, did Dr. Johnson, that nom 
inal Benedick and widower but virtual bache 
lor, when for a space he resided here. So, too, 
did that undoubted bachelor and rare good 
soul, Charles Lamb. And hundreds more, of 
sterling spirits, Brethren of the Order of Celi 
bacy, from time to time have dined, and slept, 
and tabernacled here. Indeed, the place is all a 
honeycomb of offices and domicils. Like any 
cheese, it is quite perforated through and 
through in all directions with the snug cells of 
bachelors. Dear, delightful spot! Ah! when I 
bethink me of the sweet hours there passed, en 
joying such genial hospitalities beneath those 
time-honored roofs, my heart only finds due 
utterance through poetry; and, with a sigh, I 
softly sing, "Carry me back to old Virginny !" 

[173] 



THE PARADISE OF BACHELORS 

Such then, at large, is the Paradise of Bache 
lors, And such I found it one pleasant after 
noon in the smiling month of May, when, sally 
ing from my hotel in Trafalgar Square, I went 
to keep my dinner-appointment with that fine 
Barrister, Bachelor, and Bencher, R.F.C. (he 
is the first and second, and should be the third; 
I hereby nominate him), whose card I kept 
fast pinched between my gloved forefinger and 
thumb, and every now and then snatched still 
another look at the pleasant address inscribed 
beneath the name, Number , Elm Court, 
Templar." 

At the core he was a right bluff, care-free, 
right comfortable, and most companionable 
Englishman. If on a first acquaintance he 
seemed reserved, quite icy in his air patience ; 
this champagne will thaw. And, if it never do, 
better frozen champagne than liquid vinegar. 

There were nine gentlemen, all bachelors, at 
the dinner. One was from "Number , King s 
Bench Walk, Temple"; a second, third and 
fourth, and fifth, from various courts or pas 
sages christened with some similarly rich re 
sounding syllables. It was indeed a sort of Sen 
ate of the Bachelors, sent to this dinner from 



THE PARADISE OF BACHELORS 

widely-scattered districts, to represent the gen 
eral celibacy of the Temple. Nay it was, by 
representation, a Grand Parliament of the best 
Bachelors in universal London; several of 
those present being from distant quarters of 
the town, noted immemorial seats of lawyers 
and unmarried men Lincoln s Inn, Furni- 
val s Inn; and one gentlemen upon whom I 
looked with a sort of collateral awe, hailed 
from the spot where Lord Verulam once abode 
a bachelor Gray s Inn. 

The apartment was well up toward heaven ; 
I know not how many strange old stairs I 
climbed to get to it. But a good dinner, with fa 
mous company, should be well earned. No 
doubt our host had his dining-room so high 
with a view to secure the prior exercise neces 
sary to the due relishing and digesting of it. 

The furniture was wonderfully unpretend 
ing, old, and snug. No new shining mahogany, 
sticky with undried varnish ; no uncomfortably 
luxurious ottomans, and sofas too fine to use, 
vexed you in this sedate apartment. It is a 
thing which every sensible American should 
learn from every sensible Englishmen, that 
glare and glitter, gimcracks and gewgaws, are 

[175] 



THE PARADISE OF BACHELORS 

not indispensable to domestic solacement. The 
American Benedick snatches, down-town, a 
tough chop in a gilded show-box ; the English 
bachelor leisurely dines at home on that incom 
parable South Down of his, off a plain deal 
board. 

The ceiling of the room was low. Who wants 
to dine under the dome of St. Peter s? High 
ceilings ! If that is your demand, and the higher 
the better, and you be so very tall, then go dine 
out with the topping giraffe in the open air. 

In good time the nine gentlemen sat down to 
nine covers, and soon were fairly under way. 

If I remember right, ox-tail soup inaugu 
rated the affair. Of a rich russet hue, its agree 
able flavor dissipated my first confounding of 
its main ingredient with teamster s gads and 
the rawhides of ushers. (By way of interlude, 
we here drank a little claret.) Neptune s was 
the next tribute rendered turbot coming sec 
ond; snowwhite, flaky, and just gelatinous 
enough, not too turtleish in its unctuousness. 
(At this point we refreshed ourselves with a 
glass of sherry.) After these light skirmishers 
had vanished, the heavy artillery of the feast 
marched in, led by that well-known English 

i 

[176] 



THE PARADISE OF BACHELORS 

generalissimo, roast beef. For aids-de-camp we 
had a saddle of mutton, a fat turkey, a chicken- 
pie, and endless other savory things ; while for 
avant-couriers came nine silver flagons of hum 
ming ale. This heavy ordnance having depart 
ed on the track of the light skirmishers, a 
picked brigade of game-fowl encamped upon 
the board, their camp-fires lit by the ruddiest 
of decanters. 

Tarts and puddings followed, with innumer 
able niceties; then cheese and crackers. (By 
way of ceremony, simply, only to keep up good 
old fashions, we here each drank a glass of good 
old port. ) 

The cloth was now removed; and like Blu- 
cher s army coming in at the death on the field 
of Waterloo, in marched a fresh detachment 
of bottles, dusty with their hurried march. 

All these manoeuvrings of the forces were 
superintended by a surprising old field mar 
shal (I can not school myself to call him by the 
inglorious name of waiter), with snowy hair 
and napkin, and a head like Socrates. Amidst 
all the hilarity of the feast, intent on important 
business, he disdained to smile. Venerable man ! 

I have above endeavored to give some slight 

[177]. 



THE PARADISE OF BACHELORS 

schedule of the general plan of operations. But 
any one knows that a good, general dinner is 
a sort of pell-mell, indiscriminate affair, quite 
baffling to detail in all particulars. Thus, I 
spoke of taking a glass of claret, and a glass of 
sherry, and a glass of port, and a mug of ale 
all at certain specific periods and times. But 
those were merely the state bumpers, so to 
speak. Innumerable impromptu glasses were 
drained between the periods of those grand im 
posing ones. 

The nine bachelors seemed to have the most 
tender concern for each other s health. All the 
time, in flowing wine, they most earnestly ex 
pressed their sincerest wishes for the entire 
well-being and lasting hygiene of the gentle 
men on the right and on the left. I noticed that 
when one of these kind bachelors desired a lit 
tle more wine (just for his stomach s sake, like 
Timothy) , he would not help himself to it un 
less some other bachelor would join him. It 
seemed held something indelicate, selfish and 
unf raternal to be seen taking a lonely, unpar- 
ticipated glass. Meantime, as the wine ran 
apace, the spirits of the company grew more 
and more to perfect genialness and uncon- 

[178] 



THE PARADISE OF BACHELORS 

straint. They related all sorts of pleasant 
stories. Choice experiences in their private 
lives were now brought out, like choice brands 
of Moselle or Rhenish, only kept for particular 
company. One told us how mellowly he lived 
when a student at Oxford ; with various spicy 
anecdotes of most frank-hearted noble lords, 
his liberal companions. Another bachelor, a 
gray-headed man, with a sunny face, who, by 
his own account, embraced every opportunity 
of leisure to cross over into the Low Countries, 
on sudden tours of inspection of the fine old 
Flemish architecture there this learned, 
white-haired, sunny-faced old bachelor, ex 
celled in his descriptions of the elaborate 
splendors of those old guild-halls, town-halls, 
and stadhold-houses, to be seen in the land of 
the ancient Flemings. A third was a great fre 
quenter of the British Museum, and knew all 
about scores of wonderful antiquities, of Ori 
ental manuscripts, and costly books without a 
duplicate. A fourth had lately returned from 
a trip to Old Granada, and, of course, was full 
of Saracenic scenery. A fifth had a funny case 
in law to tell. A sixth was erudite in wines. A 
seventh had a strange characteristic anecdote 

[179] 



THE PARADISE OF BACHELORS 

of the private life of the Iron Duke, never 
printed, and never before announced in any 
public or private company. An eighth had late 
ly been amusing his evening, now and then, 
with translating a comic poem of Pulci s. He 
quoted for us the more amusing passages. 

And so the evening slipped along, the hours 
told, not by a water-clock, like King Alfred s 
but a wine-chronometer. Meantime the table 
seemed a sort of Epsom Heath ; a regular ring, 
where the decanters galloped round. For fear 
one decanter should not with sufficient speed 
reach his destination, another was sent express 
after him to hurry him; and then a third to 
hurry the second ; and so on with a fourth and 
fifth. And throughout all this nothing loud, 
nothing unmannerly, nothing turbulent. I am 
quite sure, from the scrupulous gravity and 
austerity of his air, that had Socrates, the field 
marshal, perceived aught of indecorum in the 
company he served, he would have forthwith 
departed without giving warning. I afterward 
learned that during the repast, an invalid 
bachelor in an adjoining chamber enjoyed his 
first sound refreshing slumber in three long 
weary weeks. 

[180] 



THE PARADISE OF BACHELORS 

It was the very perfection of quiet absorp 
tion of good living, good drinking, good feel 
ing, and good talk. We were a band of brothers. 
Comfort fraternal, household comfort, was 
the grand trait of the affair. Also, you would 
plainly see that these easy-hearted men had no 
wives or children to give an anxious thought. 
Almost all of them were travelers, too; and 
without any twinges of their consciences touch 
ing desertion of the fireside. 

The thing called pain, the bugbear styled 
trouble those two legends seemed preposter 
ous to their bachelor imaginations. How could 
men of liberal sense, ripe scholarship in the 
world, and capacious philosophical and con 
vivial understanding how could they suffer 
themselves to be imposed upon by such monk 
ish fables? Pain! Trouble! As well talk of 
Catholic miracles. No such thing. Pass the 
sherry, Sir. Pooh, pooh ! Can t be ! The port, 
Sir, if you please. Nonsense ; don t tell me so. 
The decanter stops with you, Sir, I believe. 

And so it went. 

Not long after the cloth was drawn our host 
glanced significantly upon Socrates, who, sol 
emnly stepping to a stand, returned with an 

[181] 



THE PARADISE OF BACHELORS 

immense convolved horn, a regular Jericho 
horn, mounted with polished silver, and other 
wise chased and curiously enriched; not omit 
ting two lifelike goat s heads, with four more 
horns of solid silver, projecting from opposite 
sides of the mouth of the noble main horn. 

Not having heard that our host was a per 
former on the bugle, I was surprised to see him 
lift this horn from the table, as if he were about 
to blow an inspiring blast. But I was relieved 
from this, and set quite right as touching the 
purposes of the horn, by his now inserting his 
thumb and forefinger into its mouth; where 
upon a slight aroma was stirred up, and my 
nostrils were greeted with the smell of some 
choice Rappee. It was a mull of snuff. It went 
the rounds. Capital idea this, thought I, of tak 
ing snuff about this juncture. This goodly 
fashion must be introduced among my country 
men at home, further ruminated I. 

The remarkable decorum of the nine bache 
lors a decorum not to be affected by any 
quantity of wine a decorum unassailable by 
any degree of mirthfulness this was again 
set in a forcible light to me, by now observing 
that, though they took snuff very freely, yet 

[182] 



THE PARADISE OF BACHELORS 

not a man so far violated the proprieties, or so 
far molested the invalid bachelor in the adjoin 
ing room as to indulge himself in a sneeze. The 
snuff was snuffed silently, as if it had been 
some fine innoxious powder brushed off the 
wings of butterflies. 

But fine though they be, bachelors dinners, 
like bachelors lives, can not endure forever. 
The time came for breaking up. One by one the 
bachelors took their hats, and two by two, and 
arm-in-arm they descended, still conversing, to 
the flagging of the court ; some going to their 
neighboring chambers to turn over the Decam 
eron ere retiring for the night ; some to smoke 
a cigar, promenading in the garden on the cool 
riverside; some to make for the street, call 
a hack and be driven snugly to their distant 
lodgings. 

I was the last lingerer. 

"Well," said my smiling host, "what do you 
think of the Temple here, and the sort of life 
we bachelors make out to live in it? " 

"Sir," said I, with a burst of admiring 
candor "Sir, this is the very Paradise of 
Bachelors!" 



[183] 



THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 

IT lies not far from Woedolor Mountain in 
New England. Turning to the east, right out 
from among bright farms and sunny meadows, 
nodding in early June with odorous grasses, 
you enter ascendingly among bleak hills. These 
gradually close in upon a dusky pass, which, 
from the violent Gulf Stream of air unceasing 
ly driving between its cloven walls of haggard 
rock, as well as from the tradition of a crazy 
spinster s hut having long ago stood some 
where hereabout, is called the Mad Maid s Bel- 
lows -pipe. 

Winding along at the bottom of the gorge is 
a dangerously narrow wheel-road, occupying 
the bed of a former torrent. Following this road 
to its highest point, you stand as within a Dan- 
tean gateway. From the steepness of the walls 
here, their strangely ebon hue, and the sudden 
contraction of the gorge, this particular point 
is called the Black Notch. The ravine now ex- 
pandingly descends into a great, purple, hop 
per-shaped hollow, far sunk among many Plu- 

[184] 



THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 

tonian, shaggy-wooded mountains. By the 
country people this hollow is called the Devil s 
Dungeon. Sounds of torrents fall on all sides 
upon the ear. These rapid waters unite at last 
in one turbid, brick-colored stream, boiling 
through a flume among enormous boulders. 
They call this strange-colored torrent Blood 
River. Gaining a dark precipice it wheels sud 
denly to the west, and makes one maniac spring 
of sixty feet into the arms of a stunted wood 
of gray-haired pines, between which it thence 
eddies on its further way down to the invisible 
lowlands. 

Conspicuously crowning a rocky bluff high 
to one side, at the cataract s verge, is the ruin 
of an old saw-mill, built in those primitive times 
when vast pines and hemlocks superabounded 
throughout the neighboring region. The black- 
mossed bulk of those immense, rough-hewn, 
and spike-knotted logs, here and there tumbled 
all together, in long abandonment and decay, 
or left in solitary, perilous projection over the 
cataract s gloomy brink, impart to this rude 
wooden ruin not only much of the aspect of one 
of rough-quarried stone, but also a sort of feu 
dal, Rhineland, and Thurmberg look, derived 

[185] 



THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 

from the pinnacled wildness of the neighbor 
hood scenery. 

Not far from the bottom of the Dungeon 
stands a large whitewashed building, relieved, 
like some great white sepulchre, against the 
sullen background of mountain-side firs, and 
other hardy evergreens, inaccessibly rising in 
grim terraces for some two thousand feet. 

The building is a paper-mill. 

Having embarked on a large scale in the 
seedsman s business ( so extensively and broad 
cast, indeed, that at length my seeds were dis 
tributed through all the Eastern and North 
ern States, and even fell into the far soil of 
Missouri and the Carolinas), the demand for 
paper at my place became so great, that the ex 
penditure soon amounted to a most important 
item in the general account. It need hardly be 
hinted how paper comes into use with seeds 
men, as envelopes. These are mostly made of 
yellowish paper, folded square; and when 
filled, are all but flat, and being stamped, and 
superscribed with the nature of the seeds con 
tained, assume not a little the appearance of 
business letters ready for the mail. Of these 
small envelopes I used an incredible quantity 

[186] 



THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 

several hundred of thousands in a year. For 
a time I had purchased my paper from the 
wholesale dealers in a neighboring town. For 
economy s sake, and partly for the adventure 
of the trip, I now resolved to cross the moun 
tains, some sixty miles, and order my future 
paper at the Devil s Dungeon paper-mill. 

The sleighing being uncommonly fine toward 
the end of January, and promising to hold so 
for no small period, in spite of the bitter cold 
I started one gray Friday noon in my pung, 
well fitted with buffalo and wolf robes; and, 
spending one night on the road, next noon 
came in sight of Woedolor Mountain. 

The far summit fairly smoked with frost; 
white vapors curled up from its white-wooded 
top, as from a chimney. The intense con 
gelation made the whole country look like 
one petrification. The steel shoes of my pung 
craunched and gritted over the vitreous, chippy 
snow, as if it had been broken glass. The 
forests here and there skirting the route, feel 
ing the same all-stiffening influence, their in 
most fibres penetrated with the cold, strangely 
groaned not in the swaying branches merely, 
but likewise in the vertical trunk as the fitful 

[187] 



THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 

gusts remorseless swept through them. Brittle 
with excessive frost, many colossal tough- 
grained maples, snapped in twain like pipe- 
stems, cumbered the unfeeling earth. 

Flaked all over with frozen sweat, white as 
a milky ram, his nostrils at each breath sending 
forth two horn-shaped shoots of heated respira 
tion, Black, my good horse, but six years old, 
started at a sudden turn, where, right across 
the track not ten minutes fallen an old dis 
torted hemlock lay, darkly undulatory as an 
anaconda. 

Gaining the Bellows -pipe, the violent blast, 
dead from behind, all but shoved my high- 
backed pung up-hill. The gust shrieked 
through the shivered pass, as if laden with lost 
spirits bound to the unhappy world. Ere gain 
ing the summit, Black, my horse, as if exasper 
ated by the cutting wind, slung out with his 
strong hind legs, tore the light pung straight 
up-hill, and sweeping grazingly through the 
narrow notch, sped downward madly past the 
ruined saw-mill. Into the Devil s Dungeon 
horse and cataract rushed together. 

With might and main, quitting my seat and 
robes, and standing backward, with one foot 

[188] 



THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 

braced against the dashboard, I rasped and 
churned the bit, and stopped him just in time 
to avoid collision, at a turn, with the bleak 
nozzle of a rock, couchant like a lion in the 
way a road-side rock. 

At first I could not discover the paper-mill. 

The whole hollow gleamed with the white, 
except, here and there, where a pinnacle of 
granite showed one wind-swept angle bare. 
The mountains stood pinned in shrouds a 
pass of Alpine corpses. Where stands the mill? 
Suddenly a whirling, humming sound broke 
upon my ear. I looked, and there, like an ar 
rested avalanche, lay the large whitewashed 
factory. It was subordinately surrounded by a 
cluster of other and smaller buildings, some of 
which, from their cheap, blank air, great length, 
gregarious windows, and comfortless expres 
sion, no doubt were boarding-houses of the 
operatives. A snow-white hamlet amidst the 
snows. Various rude, irregular squares and 
courts resulted from the somewhat picturesque 
clusterings of these buildings, owing to the 
broken, rocky nature of the ground, which for 
bade all method in their relative arrangement. 
Several narrow lanes and alleys, too, partly 

[189] 



THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 

blocked with snow fallen from the roof, cut 
up the hamlet in all directions. 

When, turning from the traveled highway, 
jingling with bells of numerous farmers who, 
availing themselves of the fine sleighing, were 
dragging their wood to market and frequent 
ly diversified with swift cutters dashing from 
inn to inn of the scattered villages when, I 
say, turning from that bustling main-road, I 
by degrees wound into the Mad Maid s Bel- 
lows -pipe, and saw the grim Black Notch 
beyond, then something latent, as well as some 
thing obvious in the time and scene, strangely 
brought back to my mind my first sight of dark 
and grimy Temple Bar. And when Black, my 
horse, went darting through the Notch, peril 
ously grazing its rocky wall, I remembered 
being in a runaway London omnibus, which in 
much the same sort of style, though by no 
means at an equal rate, dashed through the an 
cient arch of Wren. Though the two objects 
did by no means correspond, yet this partial in 
adequacy but served to tinge the similitude not 
less with the vividness than the disorder of a 
dream. So that, when upon reining up at the 
protruding rock I at last caught sight of the 

[190] 



THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 

quaint groupings of the factory-buildings, and 
with the traveled highway and the Notch be 
hind, found myself all alone, silently and priv 
ily stealing through deep-cloven passages into 
this sequestered spot, and saw the long, high- 
gabled main factory edifice, with a rude tower 

for hoisting heavy boxes at one end, stand 
ing among its crowded outbuildings and board 
ing-houses, as the Temple Church amidst the 
surrounding offices and dormitories, and when 
the marvelous retirement of this mysterious 
mountain nook fastened its whole spell upon 
me, then, what memory lacked, all tributary 
imagination furnished, and I said to myself, 
This is the very counterpart of the Paradise 
of Bachelors, but snowed upon, and frost- 
painted in a sepulchre. 

Dismounting, and warily picking my way 
down the dangerous declivity horse and man 
both sliding now and then upon the icy ledges 

at length I drove, or the blast drove me, into 
the largest square, before one side of the main 
edifice. Piercingly and shrilly the shotted blast 
blew by the corner ; and redly and demoniacally 
boiled Blood River at one side. A long wood 
pile, of many scores of cords, all glittering in 

[191] 



THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 

mail of crusted ice, stood crosswise in the 
square. A row of horse-posts, their north sides 
plastered with adhesive snow, flanked the fac 
tory wall. The bleak frost packed and paved 
the square as with some ringing metal. 

The inverted similitude recurred -"The 
sweet, tranquil Temple garden, with the 
Thames bordering its green beds." strangely 
meditated I. 

But where are the gay bachelors? 

Then, as I and my horse stood shivering in 
the wind-spray, a girl ran from a neighboring 
dormitory door, and throwing her thin apron 
over her bare head, made for the opposite build 
ing. 

"One moment, my girl; is there no shed 
hereabouts which I may drive into?" 

Pausing, she turned upon me a face pale 
with work, and blue with cold ; an eye super 
natural with unrelated misery. 

"Nay," faltered I, "I mistook you. Go on; 
I want nothing." 

Leading my horse close to the door from 
which she had come, I knocked. Another pale, 
blue girl appeared, shivering in the doorway 

[192] 



THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 

as, to prevent the blast, she jealously held the 
door ajar. 

"Nay, I mistake again. In God s name shut 
the door. But hold, is there no man about?" 

That moment a dark-complexioned well- 
wrapped personage passed, making for the fac 
tory door, and spying him coming, the girl 
rapidly closed the other one. 

"Is there no horse-shed here, Sir?" 

"Yonder, the wood-shed," he replied, and 
disappeared inside the factory. 

With much ado I managed to wedge in horse 
and pung between scattered piles of wood all 
sawn and split. Then, blanketing my horse, and 
piling my buffalo on the blanket s top, and 
tucking in its edges well around the breast- 
band and breeching, so that the wind might not 
strip him bare, I tied him fast, and ran lamely 
for the factory door, still with frost, and cum 
bered with my driver s dread-naught. 

Immediately I found myself standing in a 
spacious place, intolerably lighted by long 
rows of windows, focusing inward the snowy 
scene without. 

At rows of blank-looking counters sat rows 
of blank-looking girls, white folders in their 

[193] 



THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 

blank hands, all blankly folding blank paper. 

In one corner stood some huge frame of pon 
derous iron, with a vertical thing like a piston 
periodically rising and falling upon a heavy 
wooden block. Before it its tame minister- 
stood a tall girl, feeding the iron animal with 
half-quires of rose-hued note paper, which, at 
every downward dab of the piston-like ma 
chine, received in the corner the impress of a 
wreath of roses. I looked from the rosy paper 
to the pallid cheek, but said nothing. 

Seated before a long apparatus, strung with 
long, slender strings like any harp, another 
girl was feeding it with foolscap sheets, which, 
so soon as they curiously traveled from her on 
the cords, were withdrawn at the opposite end 
of the machine by a second girl. They came to 
the first girl blank ; they went to the second girl 
ruled. 

I looked upon the first girl s brow, and saw it 
was young and fair ; I looked upon the the sec 
ond girl s brow, and saw it was ruled and 
wrinkled. Then, as I still looked, the two for 
some small variety to the monotony changed 
places; and where had stood the young, fair 
brow, now stood the ruled and wrinkled one. 

[194] 



THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 

Perched high upon a narrow platform, and 
still higher upon a high stool crowning it, sat 
another figure serving some other iron animal ; 
while below the platform sat her mate in some 
sort of reciprocal attendance. 

Not a syllable was breathed. Nothing was 
heard but the low, steady overruling hum of 
the iron animals. The human voice was ban 
ished from the spot. Machinery that vaunted 
slave of humanity here stood menially served 
by human beings, who served mutely and 
cringingly as the slave serves the Sultan. The 
girls did not so much seem accessory wheels to 
the general machinery as mere cogs to the 
wheels. 

All this scene around me was instantaneous 
ly taken in at one sweeping glance even be 
fore I had proceeded to unwind the heavy fur 
tippet from around my neck. But as soon as 
this fell from me the dark-complexioned man, 
standing close by, raised a sudden cry, and seiz 
ing my arm, dragged me out into the open air, 
and without pausing for a word instantly 
caught up some congealed snow and began 
rubbing both my cheeks. 



[195] 



THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 

"Two white spots like the whites of your 
eyes," he said; "man, your cheeks are frozen." 

"That may well be," muttered I; " tis some 
wonder the frost of the Devil s Dungeon 
strikes in no deeper. Rub away." 

Soon a horrible, tearing pain caught at my 
reviving cheeks. Two gaunt blood-hounds, one 
on either side, seemed mumbling them. I 
seemed Actaeon. 

Presently, when all was over, I re-entered 
the factory, made known my business, con 
cluded it satisfactorily, and then begged to be 
conducted throughout the place to view it. 

"Cupid is the boy for that," said the dark- 
complexioned man. "Cupid!" and by this odd 
fancy-name calling a dimpled, red-cheeked, 
spirited-looking, forward little fellow, who was 
rather impudently, I thought, gliding about 
among the passive-looking girls like a gold 
fish through hueless waves yet doing nothing 
in particular that I could see, the man bade him 
lead the stranger through the edifice. 

"Come first and see the water-wheel," said 
this lively lad, with the air of boyishly-brisk im 
portance. 

Quitting the folding-room, we crossed some 

[196] 



THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 

damp, cold boards, and stood beneath a great 
wet shed, incessantly showered with foam, like 
the green barnacled bow of some East India- 
man in a gale. Round and round here went the 
enormous revolutions of the dark colossal 
water-wheel, grim with its one immutable pur 
pose. 

"This sets our whole machinery a-going, 
Sir ; in every part of all these buildings ; where 
the girls work and all." 

I looked, and saw that the turbid waters of 
Blood River had not changed their hue by 
coming under the use of man. 

"You make only blank paper ; no printing of 
any sort, I suppose? All blank paper, don t 
you?" 

"Certainly ; what else should a paper-factory 
make?" 

The lad here looked at me as if suspicious of 
my common-sense. 

"Oh, to be sure!" said I, confused and stam 
mering; "it only struck me as so strange that 
red waters should turn out pale chee paper, 
I mean." 

He took me up a wet and rickety stair to a 
great light room, furnished with no visible 

[197] 



THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 

thing but rude, manger-like receptacles run 
ning all round its sides; and up to these 
mangers, like so many mares haltered to the 
rack stood rows of girls. Before each was verti 
cally thrust up a long, glittering scythe, im 
movably fixed at bottom to the manger-edge. 
The curve of the scythe, and its having no 
"*snath to it, made it look exactly like a sword. 
To and fro, across the sharp edge, the girls for 
ever dragged long strips of rags, washed white, 
picked from baskets at one side; thus ripping 
asunder every seam, and converting the tatters 
almost into lint. The air swam with the fine, 
poisonous particles, which from all sides 
darted, subtilely, as motes in sunbeams, into 
the lungs. 

"This is the rag-room," coughed the boy. 

"You find it rather stifling here," coughed 
I, in answer; "but the girls don t cough." 

"Oh, they are used to it." 

"Where do you get such hosts of rags?" 
picking up a handful from a basket. 

"Some from the country round about; some 
from far over sea Leghorn and London." 

" Tis not unlikely, then," murmured I, "that 
among these heaps of rags there may be some 

[198] 



THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 

old shirts, gathered from the dormitories of the 
Paradise of Bachelors. But the buttons are all 
dropped off. Pray, my lad, do you ever find 
any bachelor s buttons hereabouts? " 

"None grow in this part of the country. The 
Devil s Dungeon is no place for flowers." 

"Oh! you mean the flowers so called the 
Bachelor s Buttons?" 

"And was not that what you asked about? 
Or did you mean the gold bosom-buttons of 
our boss, Old Bach, as our whispering girls all 
call him?" 

"The man, then, I saw below is a bachelor, is 
he?" 

"Oh, yes, he s a Bach." 

"The edges of those swords, they are turned 
outward from the girls, if I see right ; but their 
rags and fingers fly so, I can not distinctly see." 

"Turned outward." 

Yes, murmured I to myself; I see it now; 
turned outward; and each erected sword is so 
borne, edge-outward, before each girl. If my 
reading fails me not, just so, of old, condemned 
state-prisoners went from the hall of judgment 
to their doom; an officer before, bearing a 
sword, its edge turned outward, in significance 

[199] 



THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 

of their fatal sentence. So, through consump 
tive pallors of this blank, raggy life, go these 
white girls to death. 

"Those scythes look very sharp," again turn 
ing toward the boy. 

"Yes; they have to keep them so. Look!" 

That moment two of the girls, dropping 
their rags, plied each a whetstone up and down 
the sword-blade. My unaccustomed blood cur 
dled at the sharp shriek of the tormented steel. 

Their own executioners; themselves whet 
ting the very swords that slay them; medi 
tated I. 

"What makes those girls so sheet-white, my 
lad?" 

"Why"- with a roguish twinkle, pure ignor 
ant drollery, not knowing heartlessness "I 
suppose the handling of such white bits of 
sheets all the time makes them so sheety." 

"Let us leave the rag-room now, my lad." 

More tragical and more inscrutably mys 
terious than any mystic sight, human or ma 
chine, throughout the f actory, was the strange 
innocence of cruel-heartedness in this usage- 
hardened boy. 

"And now," said he, cheerily, "I suppose 

[200] 



THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 

you want to see our great machine, which cost 
us twelve thousand dollars only last autumn. 
That s the machine that makes the paper, too. 
This way, Sir." 

Following him I crossed a large, bespattered 
place, with two great round vats in it, full of a 
white, wet, woolly-looking stuff, not unlike the 
albuminous part of an egg, soft-boiled. 

"There," said Cupid, tapping the vats care 
lessly, "these are the first beginning of the 
paper; this white pulp you see. Look how it 
swims bubbling round and round, moved by 
the paddle here. From hence it pours from 
both vats into the one common channel yonder ; 
and so goes, mixed up and leisurely, to the 
great machine. And now for that." 

He led me into a room, stifling with a 
strange, blood-like, abdominal heat, as if here, 
true enough, were being finally developed the 
germinous particles lately seen. 

Before me, rolled out like some long Eastern 
manuscript, lay stretched one continuous 
length of iron framework multitudinous and 
mystical, with all sorts of rollers, wheels, and 
cylinders, in slowly-measured and unceasing 
motion. 

[201] 



THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 

"Here first comes the pulp now/ said Cupid, 
pointing to the nighest end of the machine. 

"See; first it pours out and spreads itself 
upon this wide, sloping board; and then look 
slides, thin and quivering, beneath the first 
roller there. Follow on now, and see it as it 
slides from under that to the next cylinder. 
There; see how it has become just a very little 
less pulpy now. One step more, and it grows 
still more to some slight consistence. Still an 
other cylinder, and it is so knitted though as 
yet mere dragon-fly wing that it forms an air 
bridge here, like a suspended cobweb, between 
two more separated rollers; and flowing over 
the last one, and under again, and doubling 
about there out of sight for a minute among all 
those mixed cylinders you indistinctly see, it 
reappears here, looking now at last a little less 
like pulp and more like paper, but still quite 
delicate and defective yet awhile. But a little 
further onward, Sir, if you please here now, 
at this further point, it puts on something of a 
real look, as if it might turn out to be some 
thing you might possibly handle in the end. 
But it s not yet done, Sir. Good way to travel 
yet, and plenty more of cylinders must roll it." 

[202] 



THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 

"Bless my soul! " said I, amazed at the elon 
gation, interminable convolutions, and deliber 
ate slowness of the machine. "It must take a 
long time for the pulp to pass from end to end, 
and come out paper." 

"Oh, not so long," smiled the precocious lad, 
with a superior and patronizing air; "only nine 
minutes. But look ; you may try it for yourself. 
Have you a bit of paper? Ah! here s a bit on 
the floor. Now mark that with any word you 
please, and let me dab it on here, and we ll see 
how long before it comes out at the other end." 

"Well, let me see," said I, taking out my 
pencil. "Come, I ll mark it with your name." 

Bidding me take out my watch, Cupid 
adroitly dropped the inscribed slip on an ex 
posed part of the incipient mass. 

Instantly my eye marked the second-hand 
on my dial-plate. 

Slowly I followed the slip, inch by inch: 
sometimes pausing for full half a minute as it 
disappeared beneath inscrutable groups of the 
lower cylinders, but only gradually to emerge 
again; and so, on, and on, and on inch by 
inch; now in open sight, sliding along like a 
freckle on the quivering sheet ; and then again 

[203] 



THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 

wholly vanished; and so, on, and on, and on 
inch by inch ; all the time the main sheet grow 
ing more and more to final firmness when, 
suddenly, I saw a sort of paper- fall, not wholly 
unlike a water- fall ; a scissory sound smote my 
ear, as of some cord being snapped ; and down 
dropped an unfolded sheet of perfect foolscap, 
with my "Cupid" half faded out of it, and still 
moist and warm. 

My travels were at an end, for here was the 
end of the machine. 

"Well, how long was it?" said Cupid. 

"Nine minutes to a second," replied I, watch 
in hand. 

"I told you so." 

For a moment a curious emotion filled me, 
not wholly unlike that which one might experi 
ence at the fulfillment of some mysterious 
prophecy. But how absurd, thought I again; 
the thing is a mere machine, the essence of 
which is unvarying punctuality and precision. 

Previously absorbed by the wheels and 
cylinders, my attention was now directed to a 
sad-looking woman standing by. 

"That is rather an elderly person so silently 

[204] 



THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 

tending the machine-end here. She would not 
seem wholly used to it either." 

"Oh," knowingly whispered Cupid, through 
the din, "she only came last week. She was a 
nurse formerly. But the business is poor in 
these parts, and she s left it. But look at the 
paper she is piling there." 

"Ay, foolscap," handling the piles of moist, 
warm sheets, which continually were being de 
livered into the woman s waiting hands. "Don t 
you turn out anything but foolscap at this ma 
chine?" 

"Oh, sometimes, but not often, we turn out 
finer work cream-laid and royal sheets, we 
call them. But foolscap being in chief demand 
we turn out foolscap most." 

It was very curious. Looking at that blank 
paper continually dropping, dropping, drop 
ping, my mind ran on in wonderings of those 
strange uses to which those thousand sheets 
eventually would be put. All sorts of writings 
would be writ on those now vacant things 
sermons, lawyers briefs, physicians prescrip 
tions, love-letters, marriage certificates, bills of 
divorce, registers of births, death-warrants, 
and so on, without end. Then, recurring back 

[205] 



THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 

to them as they here lay all blank, I could not 
but bethink me of that celebrated comparison 
of John Locke, who, in demonstration of his 
theory that man had no innate ideas, compared 
the human mind at birth to a sheet of blank 
paper, something destined to be scribbled on, 
but what sort of characters no soul might tell. 
Pacing slowly to and fro along the involved 
machine, still humming with its play, I was 
struck as well by the inevitability as the evolve- 
ment-power in all its motions. 

"Does that thin cobweb there," said I, point 
ing to the sheet in its more imperfect stage, 
"does that never tear or break? It is marvelous 
fragile, and yet this machine it passes through 
is so mighty." 

"It never is known to tear a hair s point." 
"Does it never stop get clogged? " 
"No. It must go. The machineiy makes it 
go just so ; just that very way, and at that very 
pace you there plainly see it go. The pulp can t 
help going." 

Something of awe now stole over me, as I 
gazed upon this inflexible iron animal. Always, 
more or less, machinery of this ponderous 
elaborate sort strikes, in some moods, strange 

[ 206 ] 



THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 

dread into the human heart, as some living, 
panting Behemoth might. But what made the 
thing I saw so specially terrible to me was the 
metallic necessity, the unbudging fatality 
which governed it. Though, here and there, T 
could not follow the thin, gauzy vail of pulp in 
the course of its more mysterious or entirely 
invisible advance, yet it was indubitable that, 
at those points where it eluded me, it still 
marched on in unvarying docility to the auto 
cratic cunning of the machine. A fascination 
fastened on me. I stood spellbound and wan 
dering in my soul. Before my eyes there, 
passing in slow procession along the wheeling 
cylinders, I seemed to see, glued to the pallid 
incipience of the pulp, the yet more pallid faces 
of all the pallid girls I had eyed that heavy day. 
Slowly, mournfully, beseechingly, yet unre 
sistingly, they gleamed along, their agony dim 
ly outlined on the imperfect paper, like the 
print of the tormented face on the handkerchief 
of Saint Veronica. 

"Halloa! the heat of this room is too much 
for you," cried Cupid, staring at me. 
"No I am rather chill, if anything." 
"Come out, Sir out out," and, with the 

[207] 



THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 

protecting air of a careful father, the preco 
cious lad hurried me outside. 

In a few minutes, feeling revived a little, I 
went into the folding-room the first room I 
had entered, and where the desk for transact 
ing business stood, surrounded by the blank 
counters and blank girls engaged at them. 

"Cupid here has led me a strange tour," said 
I to the dark-complexioned man before men 
tioned, whom I had ere this discovered not only 
to be an old bachelor, but also the principal 
proprietor. "Yours is a most wonderful fac 
tory. Your great machine is a miracle of in 
scrutable intricacy." 

"Yes, all our visitors think it so. But we 
don t have many. We are in a very out-of-the- 
way corner here. Few inhabitants, too. Most of 
our girls come from far-off villages." 

"The girls," echoed I, glancing round at 
their silent forms. "Why is it, Sir, that in 
most factories, female operatives, of whatever 
age, are indiscriminately called girls, never wo 
men?" 

"Oh! as to that why, I suppose, the fact of 
their being generally unmarried that s the 
reason, I should think. But it never struck me 

[208] 



THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 

before. For our factory here, we will not have 
married women ; they are apt to be off-and-on 
too much. We want none but steady workers ; 
twelve hours to the day, day after day, through 
the three hundred and sixty-five days, except 
ing Sundays, Thanksgiving, and Fast-days. 
That s our rule. And so, having no married 
women, what females we have are rightly 
enough called girls." 

"Then these are all maids," said I, while 
some pained homage to their pale virginity 
made me involuntarily bow. 

"All maids." 

Again the strange emotion filled me. 

"Your cheeks look whitish yet, Sir," said the 
man, gazing at me narrowly. "You must be 
careful going home. Do they pain you at all 
now? It s a bad sign, if they do." 

"No doubt, Sir," answered I, "when once I 
have got out of the Devil s Dungeon I shall 
feel them mending." 

"Ah, yes ; the winter air in valleys, or gorges, 
or any sunken place, is far colder and more bit 
ter than elsewhere. You would hardly believe 
it now, but it is colder here than at the top of 
Woedolor Mountain." 

[209] 



THE TARTARUS OF MAIDS 

"I dare say it is, Sir. But time presses me; I 
must depart." 

With that, remuffling myself in dread- 
naught and tippet, thrusting my hands into my 
huge sealskin mittens, I sallied out into the 
nipping air, and found poor Black, my horse, 
all cringing and doubled up with the cold. 

Soon, wrapped in furs and meditations, I 
ascended from the Devil s Dungeon. 

At the Black Notch I paused, and once more 
bethought me of Temple-Bar. Then, shooting 
through the pass, all alone with inscrutable na 
ture, I exclaimed Oh! Paradise of Bachelors! 
and oh ! Tartarus of Maids ! 



[210] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

OR THE CROWING OF THE NOBLE 
COCK BENEVENTA.NO 

IN all parts of the world many high-spirited 
revolts from rascally despotisms had of late 
been knocked on the head ; many dreadful cas 
ualties, by locomotive and steamer, had like 
wise knocked hundreds of high-spirited travel 
ers on the head (I lost a dear friend in one of 
them) ; my own private affairs were also full of 
despotisms, casualties, and knockings on the 
head, when early one morning in spring, being 
too full of hypoes to sleep, I sallied out to walk 
on my hillside pasture. 

It was a cool and misty, damp, disagreeable 
air. The country looked underdone, its raw 
juices squirting out all round. I buttoned out 
this squitchy air as well as I could with my 
lean, double-breasted dress-coat my over 
coat being so long-skirted I only used it in my 
wagon and spitefully thrusting my crab-stick 
into the oozy sod, bent my blue form to the 
steep ascent of the hill. This toiling posture 

[211] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

brought my head pretty well earthward, as if 
I were in the act of butting it against the world. 
I marked the fact, but only grinned at it with a 
ghastly grin. 

All round me were tokens of a divided em 
pire. The old grass and the new grass were 
striving together. In the low wet swales the 
verdure peeped out in vivid green ; beyond, on 
the mountains, lay light patches of snow, 
strangely relieved against their russet sides; 
all the humped hills looked like brindled kine in 
the shivers. The woods were strewn with dry 
dead boughs, snapped off by the riotous winds 
of March, while the young trees skirting the 
woods were just beginning to show the first 
yellowish tinge of the nascent spray. 

I sat down for a moment on a great rotting 
log nigh the top of the hill, my back to a heavy 
grove, my face presented toward a wide sweep 
ing circuit of mountains enclosing a rolling, di 
versified country. Along the base of one long 
range of heights ran a lagging, fever-and- 
agueish river, over which was a duplicate 
stream of dripping mist, exactly correspond 
ing in every meander with its parent water be 
low. Low down, here and there, shreds of vapor 

[ 212 ] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

listlessly wandered in the air, like abandoned or 
helmless nations or ships or very soaky towels 
hung on criss-cross clothes-lines to dry. Afar, 
over a distant village lying in a bay of the plain 
formed by the mountains, there rested a great 
flat canopy of haze, like a pall. It was the con 
densed smoke of the chimneys, with the con 
densed, exhaled breath of the villagers, pre 
vented from dispersion by the imprisoning 
hills. It was too heavy and lifeless to mount of 
itself; so there it lay, between the village and 
the sky, doubtless hiding many a man with the 
mumps, and many a queasy child. 

My eye ranged over the capacious rolling 
country, and over the mountains, and over the 
village, and over a farmhouse here <,nd there, 
and over woods, groves, streams, rocks, fells- 
and I thought to myself, what a slight mark, 
after all, does man make on this huge great 
earth. Yet the earth makes a mark on him. 
What a horrid accident was that on the Ohio, 
where my good friend and thirty other good 
fellows were sloped into eternity at the bidding 
of a thick-headed engineer, who knew not a 
valve from a flue. And that crash on the rail 
road just over yon mountains there, where two 

[213] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

infatuate trains ran pell-mell into each other, 
and climbed and clawed each other s backs ; and 
one locomotive was found fairly shelled like a 
chick, inside of a passenger car in the antago 
nist train ; and near a score of noble hearts, a 
bride and her groom, and an innocent little in 
fant, were all disembarked into the grim hulk 
of Charon, who ferried them over, all baggage- 
less, to some clinkered iron-foundry country or 
other. Yet what s the use of complaining? What 
justice of the peace will right this matter? Yea, 
what s the use of bothering the very heavens 
about it? Don t the heavens themselves ordain 
these things else they could not happen? 

A miserable world! Who would take the 
trouble to make a fortune in it, when he knows 
not how long he can keep it, for the thousand 
villains and asses who have the management of 
railroads and steamboats, and innumerable 
other vital things in the world. If they would 
make me Dictator in North America awhile 
I d string them up ! and hang, draw, and quar 
ter; fry, roast and boil; stew, grill, and devil 
them like so many turkey-legs the~ rascally 
numskulls of stokers ; I d set them to stokering 
in Tartarus I would! 

[214] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

Great improvements of the age! What! to 
call the facilitation of death and murder an im 
provement! Who wants to travel so fast? My 
grandfather did not, and he was no fool. Hark ! 
here comes that old dragon again that gigan 
tic gadfly of a Moloch snort! puff! scream! 
here he comes straight-bent through these 
vernal woods, like the Asiatic cholera canter 
ing on a camel. Stand aside! Here he comes, 
the chartered murderer! the death monopo 
lizer! judge, jury, and hangman all together, 
whose victims die always without benefit of 
clergy. For two hundred and fifty miles that 
iron fiend goes yelling through the land, cry 
ing "More ! more ! more ! " Would fifty conspir 
ing mountains would fall atop of him! and, 
while they were about it, would they would also 
fall atop of that smaller dunning fiend, my 
creditor, who frightens the life out of me more 
than any locomotive a lantern- jawed rascal, 
who seems to run on a railroad track too, and 
duns me even on Sunday, all the way to church 
and back, and comes and sits in the same pew 
with me, and pretending to be polite and hand 
me the prayer-book opened at the proper place, 
pokes his pesky bill under my nose in the veiy 

[215] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

midst of my devotions, and so shoves himself 
between me and salvation; for how can one 
keep his temper on such occasions? 

I can t pay this horrid man ; and yet they say 
money was never so plentiful a drug on the 
market ; but blame me if I can get any of the 
drug, though there never was a sick man more 
in need of that particular sort of medicine. It s 
a lie ; money ain t plenty feel of my pocket. 
Ha ! here s a powder I was going to send to the 
sick baby in yonder hovel, where the Irish 
ditcher lives. That baby has the scarlet fever. 
They say the measles are rife in the country 
too, and the varioloid, and the chicken-pox, and 
it s bad for teething children. And after all, I 
suppose many of the poor little ones, after go 
ing through all this trouble snap off short ; and 
so they had the measles, mumps, croup, scarlet- 
fever, chicken-pox, cholera-morbus, summer- 
complaint, and all else, in vain ! Ah ! there s that 
twinge of the rheumatics in my right shoulder. 
I got it one night on the North River, when, in 
a crowded boat, I gave up my berth to a sick 
lady, and staid on deck till morning in drizzling 
weather. There s the thanks one gets for chari 
ty! Twinge! Shoot away, ye rheumatics! Ye 

[216] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

couldn t lay on worse if I were some villain who 
had murdered the lady instead of befriending 
her. Dyspepsia too I am troubled with that. 

Hallo! here come the calves, the two-year- 
olds, just turned out of the barn into the pas 
ture, after six months of cold victuals. What a 
miserable-looking set, to be sure! A breaking 
up of a hard winter, that s certain ; sharp bones 
sticking out like elbows; all quilted with a 
strange stuff dried on their flanks like layers of 
pancakes. Hair worn quite off too, here and 
there ; and where it ain t pancaked, or worn off, 
looks like the rubbed sides of mangy old hair- 
trunks. In fact, they are not six two-year-olds, 
but six abominable old hair-trunks wandering 
about here in this pasture. 

Hark! By Jove, what s that? See! the very 
hair-trunks prick their ears at it, and stand and 
gaze away down into the rolling country yon 
der. Hark again ! How clear ! how musical ! how 
prolonged ! What a triumphant thanksgiving 
of a cock-crow ! "Glory be to God in the high 
est!" It says those very words as plain as ever 
cock did in this world. Why, why, I began to 
feel a little in sorts again. It ain t so very misty, 

[217] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

after all. The sun yonder is beginning to show 
himself ; I feel warmer. 

Hark ! There again ! Did ever such a blessed 
cock-crow so ring out over the earth before! 
Clear, shrill, full of pluck, full of fire, full of 
fun, full of glee. It plainly says "Never say 
die! " My friends, it is extraordinary, is it not ? 

Unwittingly, I found that I had been ad 
dressing the two-year-olds the calves in my 
enthusiasm ; which shows how one s true nature 
will betray itself at times in the most uncon 
scious way. For what a very two-year-old, and 
calf, I had been to fall into the sulks, on a hill 
top too, when a cock down in the lowlands 
there, without discourse of reason, and quite 
penniless in the world, and with death hanging 
over him at any moment from his hungry mas 
ter, sends up a cry like a very laureate celebrat 
ing the glorious victory of New Orleans. 

Hark! there it goes again! My friends, that 
must be a Shanghai; no domestic-born cock 
could crow in such prodigious exulting 
strains. Plainly, my friends, a Shanghai of the 
Emperor of China s breed. 

But my friends the hair- trunks, fairly 
alarmed at last by such clamorously-victorious 

[218] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

tones, were now scampering off, with their tails 
flirting in the air, and capering with their legs 
in clumsy enough sort of style, sufficiently 
evincing that they had not freely flourished 
them for the six months last past. 

Hark! there again! Whose cock is that? 
Who in this region can afford to buy such an 
extraordinary Shanghai? Bless me it makes 
my blood bound I feel wild. What? jump 
ing on this rotten old log here, to flap my el 
bows and crow too? And just now in the dole 
ful dumps. And all this from the simple crow 
of a cock. Marvelous cock! But soft this fel 
low now crows most lustily ; but it s only morn 
ing; let s see how he ll crow about noon, and 
towards nightfall. Come to think of it, cocks 
crow most lustily in the beginning of the day. 
Their pluck ain t lasting, after all. Yes, yes ; 
even cocks have to succumb to the universal 
spell of tribulation: jubilant in the beginning, 
but down in the mouth at the end. 

. . . "Of fine mornings, 

We fine lusty cocks begin our crows in gladness; 

But when the eve does come we don t crow quite so much, 

For then cometh despondency and madness." 



[219] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

The poet had this very Shanghai in mind 
when he wrote that. But stop. There he rings 
out again, ten times richer, fuller, longer, more 
obstreperously exulting than before ! In fact, 
that bell ought to be taken down, and this 
Shanghai put in its place. Such a crow would 
jollify all London, from Mile-End (which is 
no end) to Primrose Hill (where there ain t 
any primroses), and scatter the fog. 

Well, I have an appetite for my breakfast 
this morning, if I have not had it for a week be 
fore. I meant to have only tea and toast ; but 
I ll have coffee and eggs no, brown stout and 
a beefsteak. I want something hearty. Ah, 
here comes the down-train : white cars, flashing- 
through the trees like a vein of silver. How 
cheerfully the steam-pipe chirps ! Gay are the 
passengers. There waves a handkerchief go 
ing down to the city to eat oysters, and see their 
friends, and drop in at the circus. Look at the 
mist yonder; what soft curls and undulations 
round the hills, and the sun weaving his rays 
among them. See the azure smoke of the 
village, like the azure tester over a bridal-bed. 
How bright the country looks there where the 
river overflowed the meadows. The old grass 

[220] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

has to knock under to the new. Well, I feel the 
better for this walk. Home now, and walk into 
that steak and crack that bottle of brown stout ; 
and by the time that s drank a quart of stout 
by that time, I shall feel about as stout as 
Samson. Come to think of it, that dun may call, 
though. I ll just visit the woods and cut a club. 
I ll club him, by Jove, if he duns me this day. 

Hark! there goes Shanghai again. Shang 
hai says, "Bravo ! " Shanghai says, "Club him ! " 

Oh, brave cock! 

I felt in rare spirits the whole morning. The 
dun called about eleven. I had the boy Jake 
send the dun up. I was reading Tristam Shan 
dy, and could not go down under the circum 
stances. The lean rascal (a lean farmer, too 
think of that!) entered, and found me seated 
in an armchair, with my feet on the table, and 
the second bottle of brown stout handy, and 
the book under eye. 

"Sit down," said I, "I ll finish this chapter, 
and then attend to you. Fine morning. Ha ! ha ! 
this is a fine joke about my Uncle Toby and 
the Widow Wadman! Ha! ha! ha! let me read 
this to you." 

[221] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

"I have no time; I ve got my noon chores to 
do." 

"To the deuce with your chores!" said I. 
"Don t drop your old tobacco about here, or 
I ll turn you out." 

"Sir!" 

"Let me read you this about the Widow 
Wadman. Said the Widow Wadman 

"There s my bill, sir." 

"Very good. Just twist it up, will you it s 
about my smoking-time ; and hand a coal, will 
you, from the hearth yonder! " 

"My bill, sir!" said the rascal, turning pale 
with rage and amazement at my unwonted air 
(formerly I had always dodged him with a 
pale face), but too prudent as yet to betray 
the extremity of his astonishment. "My bill, 
sir" and he stiffly poked it at me. 

"My friend," said I, "what a charming 
morning ! How sweet the country looks ! Pray, 
did you hear that extraordinary cock-crow this 
morning? Take a glass of my stout! " 

"Yours? First pay your debts before you 
offer folks your stout ! " 

"You think, then, that, properly speaking, I 
have no stout 3 said I, deliberately rising. "I ll 

[222] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

undeceive you. I ll show you stout of a superior 
brand to Barclay and Perkins." 

Without more ado, I seized that insolent dun 
by the slack of his coat (and, being a lean, 
shad-bellied wretch, there was plenty of slack 
to it) I seized him that way, tied him with a 
sailor-knot, and, thrusting his bill between his 
teeth, introduced him to the open country lying 
round about my place of abode. 

"Jake," said I, "you ll find a sack of blue- 
nosed potatoes lying under the shed. Drag it 
here, and pelt this pauper away ; he s been beg 
ging pence of me, and I know he can work, but 
he s lazy. Pelt him away, Jake! " 

Bless my stars, what a crow! Shanghai sent 
up such a perfect pgean and laudamus such 
a trumpet blast of triumph, that my soul fairly 
snorted in me. Duns ! I could have fought an 
army of them! Plainly, Shanghai was of the 
opinion that duns only came into the world to 
be kicked, hanged, bruised, battered, choked, 
walloped, hammered, drowned, clubbed! 

Returning indoors, when the exultation of 
my victory over the dun had a little subsided, I 
fell to musing over the mysterious Shanghai. 
I had no idea I would hear him so nigh my 

[223] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

house. I wondered from what rich gentleman s 
yard he crowed. Nor had he cut short his crows 
so easily as I had supposed he would. This 
Shanghai crowed till midday, at least. Would 
he keep a-crowing all day ? I resolved to learn. 
Again I ascended the hill. The whole country 
was now bathed in a rejoicing sunlight. The 
warm verdure was bursting all round me. 
Teams were a-field. Birds, newly arrived from 
the South, were blithely singing in the air. 
Even the crows cawed with a certain unction, 
and seemed a shade or two less black than 
usual. 

Hark! there goes the cock! How shall I de 
scribe the crow of the Shanghai at noontide! 
His sunrise crow was a whisper to it. It was 
the loudest, longest and most strangely music 
al crow that ever amazed mortal man. I had 
heard plenty of cock-crows before, and many 
fine ones ; but this one ! so smooth, and flute- 
like in its very clamor so self-possessed in its 
very rapture of exultation so vast, mounting, 
swelling, soaring, as if spurted out from a 
golden throat, thrown far back. Nor did it 
sound like the foolish, vain-glorious crow of 
some young sophomorean cock, who knew not 

[224] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

the world, and was beginning life in audacious 
gay spirits, because in wretched ignorance of 
what might be to come. It was the crow of a 
cock who crowed not without advice ; the crow 
of a cock who knew a thing or two ; the crow of 
a cock who had fought the world and got the 
better of it and was resolved to crow, though 
the earth should heave and the heavens should 
fall. It was a wise crow ; an invincible crow ; a 
philosophic crow ; a crow of all crows. 

I returned home once more full of reinvigo- 
rated spirits, with a dauntless sort of feeling. I 
thought over my debts and other troubles, and 
over the unlucky risings of the poor oppressed 
peoples abroad, and over the railroad and 
steamboat accidents, and over even the loss of 
my dear friend, with a calm, good-natured 
rapture of defiance, which astounded myself. 
I felt as though I could meet Death, and invite 
him to dinner, and toast the Catacombs with 
him, in pure overflow of self-reliance and a 
sense of universal security. 

Toward evening I went up to the hill once 
more to find whether, indeed, the glorious cock 
would prove game even from the rising of the 
sun unto the going down thereof. Talk of Ves- 

[225] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

pers or Curfew ! the evening crow of the cock 
went out of his mighty throat all over the land 
and inhabited it, like Xerxes from the East 
with his double-winged host. It was miracu 
lous. Bless me, what a crow! The cock went 
game to roost that night, depend upon it, vic 
torious over the entire day, and bequeathing 
the echoes of his thousand crows to night. 

After an unwontedly sound, refreshing 
sleep I rose early, feeling like a carriage-spring 
light elliptical airy buoyant as stur 
geon-nose and, like a foot-ball, bounded up 
the hill. Hark! Shanghai was up before me. 
The early bird that caught the worm crowing 
like a bugle worked by an engine lusty, loud, 
all jubilation. From the scattered farmhouses 
a multitude of other cocks were crowing, and 
replying to each other s crows. But they were 
as flageolets to a trombone. Shanghai would 
suddenly break in, and overwhelm all their 
crows with his one domineering blast. He 
seemed to have nothing to do with any other 
concern. He replied to no other crow, but 
crowed solely by himself, on his own account, 
in solitary scorn and independence. 

Oh, brave cock! oh, noble Shanghai! oh, 

[226] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

bird rightly offered up by the invincible Socra 
tes, in testimony of his final victory over life. 

As I live, thought I, this blessed day, will I 
go and seek out the Shanghai, and buy him, if 
I have to clap another mortgage on my land. 

I listened attentively now, striving to mark 
from what direction the crow came. But it so 
charged and replenished, and made bountiful 
and overflowing all the air, that it was impos 
sible to say from what precise point the exulta 
tion came. All that I could decide upon was 
this : the crow came from out of the east, and 
not from out of the west. I then considered 
with myself how far a cock-crow might be 
heard. In this still country, shut in, too, by 
mountains, sounds were audible at great dis 
tances. Besides, the undulations of the land, the 
abuttings of the mountains into the rolling hill 
and valley below, produced strange echoes, 
and reverberations, and multiplications, and 
accumulations of resonance, very remarkable 
to hear, and very puzzling to think of. Where 
lurked this valiant Shanghai this bird of 
cheerful Socrates the game-fowl Greek who 
died unappalled? Where lurked he? Oh, noble 
cock, where are you? Crow once more, my Ban- 

[227] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

tarn ! my princely, my imperial Shanghai ! my 
bird of the Emperor of China! Brother of the 
sun! Cousin of great Jove! where are you? 
one crow more, and tell me your number ! 

Hark! like a full orchestra of the cocks of all 
nations, forth burst the crow. But where from ? 
There it is; but where? There was no telling, 
further than it came from out of the east. 

After breakfast I took my stick and sallied 
down the road. There were many gentlemen s 
seats dotting the neighboring country, and I 
made no doubt that some of these opulent gen 
tlemen had invested a hundred dollar bill in 
some royal Shanghai recently imported in the 
ship Trade Wind, or the ship White Squall, or 
the ship Sovereign of the Seas; for it must 
needs have been a brave ship with a brave name 
which bore the fortunes of so brave a cock. I 
resolved to walk the entire country, and find 
this noble foreigner out ; but thought it would 
not be amiss to inquire on the way at the 
humblest homesteads, whether, peradventure, 
they had heard of a lately-imported Shanghai 
belonging to any gentlemen settlers from the 
city; for it was plain that no poor farmer, no 
poor man of any sort, could own such an 

[228] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

Oriental trophy such a Great Bell of St. 
Paul s swung in a cock s throat. 

I met an old man, plowing, in a field nigh 
the road-side fence. 

"My friend, have you heard an extraordi 
nary cock-crow of late?" 

"Well, well," he drawled, "I don t know- 
the Widow Crowfoot has a cock and Squire 
Squaretoes has a cock and I have a cock, and 
they all crow. But I don t know of any on em 
with straordinary crows." 

"Good-morning to you," said I, shortly; 
"it s plain that you have not heard the crow of 
the Emperor of China s chanticleer." 

Presently I met another old man mending 
a tumble-down old rail-fence. The rails were 
rotten, and at every move of the old man s 
hand they crumbled into yellow ochre. He had 
much better let the fence alone, or else get him 
new rails. And here I must say, that one cause 
of the sad fact why idiocy more prevails among 
farmers than any other class of people, is owing 
to their undertaking the mending of rotten 
rail-fences in warm, relaxing spring weather. 
The enterprise is a hopeless one. It is a labori 
ous one ; it is a bootless one. It is an enterprise 

[229] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

to make the heart break. Vast pains 
squandered upon a vanity. For how can one 
make rotten rail-fences stand up on their 
rotten pins? By what magic put pitch into 
sticks which have lain freezing and baking 
through sixty consecutive winters and 
summers ? This it is, this wretched endeavor to 
mend rotten rail-fences with their own rotten 
rails, which drives many farmers into the 
asylum. 

On the face of the old man in question incipi 
ent idiocy was plainly marked. For, about sixty 
rods before him extended one of the most un 
happy and desponding broken-hearted Vir 
ginia rail-fences I ever saw in my life. While 
in a field behind, were a set of young steers, 
possessed as by devils, continually butting at 
this forlorn old fence, and breaking through it 
here and there, causing the old man to drop his 
work and chase them back within bounds. He 
would chase them with a piece of rail huge as 
Goliath s beam, but as light as cork. At the first 
flourish, it crumbled into powder. 

"My friend," said I, addressing this woeful 
mortal, "have you heard an extraordinary cock 
crow of late?" 

[230] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

I might as well as have asked him if he had 
heard the death-tick. He stared at me with 
a long, bewildered, doleful, and unutterable 
stare, and without reply resumed his unhappy 
labors. 

What a fool, thought I, to have asked such 
an uncheerful and uncheerable creature about 
a cheerful cock ! 

I walked on. I had now descended the high 
land where my house stood, and being in a low 
tract could not hear the crow of the Shanghai, 
which doubtless overshot me there. Besides, the 
Shanghai might be at lunch of corn and oats, 
or taking a nap, and so interrupted his jubi 
lations for a while. 

At length, I encountered riding along the 
road, a portly gentleman nay, a pursy one 
of great wealth, who had recently purchased 
him some noble acres, and built him a noble 
mansion, with a goodly fowl-house attached, 
the fame whereof spread through all the 
country. Thought I, Here now is the owner of 
the Shanghai. 

"Sir," said I, "excuse me, but I am a 
countryman of yours, and would ask, if so be 
you own any Shanghais?" 

[231] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

"Oh, yes; I have ten Shanghais." 

"Ten!" exclaimed I, in wonder; "and do 
they all crow ?" 

"Most lustily; every soul of them; I 
wouldn t own a cock that wouldn t crow." 

"Will you turn back, and show me those 
Shanghais?" 

"With pleasure: I am proud of them. They 
cost me, in the lump, six hundred dollars." 

As I walked by the side of his horse. I was 
thinking to myself whether possibly I had not 
mistaken the harmoniously combined crow- 
ings of ten Shanghais in a squad, for the 
supernatural crow of a single Shanghai by 
himself. 

"Sir," said I, "is there one of your Shang 
hais which far exceeds all the others in the lus 
tiness, musicalness, and inspiring effects of 
his crow?" 

"They crow pretty much alike, I believe," 
he courteously replied. "I really don t know 
that I could tell their crow apart." 

I began to think that after all my noble 
chanticleer might not be in the possession of 
this wealthy gentleman. However, we went 
into his fowl-yard, and saw his Shanghais. Let 

[232] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

me say that hitherto I had never clapped eye 
on this species of imported fowl. I had heard 
what enormous prices were paid for them, and 
also that they were of an enormous size, and 
had somehow fancied they must be of a beauty 
and brilliancy proportioned both to size and 
price. What was my surprise, then, to see ten 
carrot-colored monsters, without the smallest 
pretension to effulgence of plumage. Imme 
diately, I determined that my royal cock was 
neither among these, nor could possibly be a 
Shanghai at all ; if these gigantic gallows-bird 
fowl were fair specimens of the true Shanghai. 

I walked all day, dining and resting at a 
farmhouse, inspecting various fowl-yards, in 
terrogating various owners of fowls, hearken 
ing to various crows, but discovered not the 
mysterious chanticleer. Indeed, I had 
wandered so far and deviously, that I could not 
hear his crow. I began to suspect that this cock 
was a mere visitor in the country, who had 
taken his departure by the eleven o clock train 
for the South, and was now crowing and jubi 
lating somewhere on the verdant banks of 
Long Island Sound. 

But next morning, again I heard the inspir- 

[233] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

ing blast, again felt my blood bound in me, 
again felt superior to all the ills of life, again 
felt like turning my dun out of doors. But dis 
pleased with the reception given him at his 
last visit, the dun stayed away, doubtless being 
in a huff. Silly fellow that he was to take a 
harmless joke in earnest. 

Several days passed, during which I made 
sundry excursions in the regions roundabout, 
but in vain sought the cock. Still, I heard him 
from the hill, and sometimes from the house, 
and sometimes in the stillness of the night. If 
at times I would relapse into my doleful 
dumps straightway at the sound of the ex 
ultant and defiant crow, my soul, too, would 
turn chanticleer, and clap her wings, and 
throw back her throat, and breathe forth a 
cheerful challenge to all the world of woes. 

At last, after some weeks I was necessitated 
to clap another mortgage on my estate, in or 
der to pay certain debts, and among others 
the one I owed the dun, who of late had com 
menced a civil-process against me. The way 
the process was served was a most insulting 
one. In a private room I had been enjoying 
myself in the village tavern over a bottle 

[234] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

of Philadelphia porter, and some Herkimer 
cheese, and a roll, and having apprised the 
landlord, who was a friend of mine, that I 
would settle with him when I received my next 
remittances, stepped to the peg where I had 
hung my hat in the bar-room, to get a choice 
cigar I had left in the hall, when lo ! I found 
the civil-process enveloping the cigar. When 
I unrolled the cigar, I unrolled the civil- 
process, and the constable standing by rolled 
out, with a thick tongue, "Take notice!" and 
added, in a whisper, "Put that in your pipe and 
smoke it!" 

I turned short round upon the gentlemen 
then and there present in that bar-room. Said 
I, "Gentlemen, is this an honorable nay, is 
this a lawful way of serving a civil-process? 
Behold!" 

One and all they were of opinion, that it was 
a highly inelegant act in the constable to take 
advantage of a gentleman s lunching on cheese 
and porter, to be so uncivil as to slip a civil- 
process into his hat. It was ungenerous ; it was 
cruel; for the sudden shock of the thing com 
ing instanter upon the lunch, would impair 
the proper digestion of the cheese, which is 

[235] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

proverbially not so easy of digestion as blanc 
mange. 

Arrived at home I read the process, and felt 
a twinge of melancholy. Hard world! hard 
world! Here I am, as good a fellow as ever 
lived hospitable open-hearted generous 
to a fault ; and the Fates forbid that I should 
possess the fortune to bless the country with 
my bounteousness. Nay, while many a stingy 
curmudgeon rolls in idle gold, I, heart of 
nobleness as I am, I have civil-processes 
served on me ! I bowed my head, and felt for 
lorn un j ustly used abused unappreciated 
in short, miserable. 

Hark! like a clarion! yea, like a bolt of 
thunder with bells to it came the all-glorious 
and defiant crow! Ye gods, how it set me up 
again ! Right on my pins ! Yes, verily on stilts ! 

Oh, noble cock! 

Plain as cock could speak, it said, "Let the 
world and all aboard of it go to pot. Do you be 
jolly, and never say die! What s the world 
compared to you? What is it, anyhow, but a 
lump of loam? Do you be jolly!" 

Oh, noble cock! 

"But my dear and glorious cock," mused I, 

[236] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

upon second thought, "one can t so easily send 
this world to pot; one can t so easily be jolly 
with civil-processes in his hat or hand." 

Hark! the crow again. Plain as cock could 
speak, it said: "Hang the process, and hang 
the fellow that sent it! If you have not land or 
cash, go and thrash the fellow, and tell him you 
never mean to pay him. Be jolly!" 

Now this was the way through the impera 
tive intimations of the cock that I came to 
clap the added mortgage on my estate; paid 
all my debts by fusing them into this one added 
bond and mortgage. Thus made at ease again, 
I renewed my search for the noble cock. But in 
vain, though I heard him every day. I began 
to think there was some sort of deception 
in this mysterious thing: some wonderful 
ventriloquist prowled around my barns, or in 
my cellar, or on my roof, and was minded to be 
gayly mischievous. But no what ventriloquist 
could so crow with such an heroic and celestial 
crow? 

At last, one morning there came to me a 
certain singular man, who had sawed and 
split my wood in March some five-and-thirty 
cords of it and now he came for his pay. He 

[237] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

was a singular man, I say. He was tall and 
spare, with a long saddish face, yet somehow 
a latently joyous eye, which offered the stran 
gest contrast. His air seemed staid, but unde 
pressed. He wore a long, gray, shabby coat, 
and a big battered hat. This man had sawed 
my wood at so much a cord. He would stand 
and saw all day in a driving snow-storm, and 
never wink at it. He never spoke unless spoken 
to. He only sawed. Saw, saw, saw snow, 
snow, snow. The saw and the snow went to 
gether like two natural things. The first day 
this man came, he brought his dinner with him, 
and volunteered to eat it sitting on his buck in 
the snow-storm. From my window, where I was 
reading Burton s Anatomy of Melancholy, I 
saw him in the act. I burst out of doors bare 
headed. "Good heavens!" cried I; what are 
you doing? Come in. This your dinner!" 

He had a hunk of stale bread and another 
hunk of salt beef, wrapped in a wet newspaper, 
and washed his morsels down by melting a 
handful of fresh snow in his mouth. I took this 
rash man indoors, planted him by the fire, gave 
him a dish of hot pork and beans, and a mug of 
cider. 

[238] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

"A T ow," said I, "don t you bring any of your 
damp dinners here. You work by the job, to be 
sure; but I ll dine you for all that." 

He expressed his acknowledgments in a 
calm, proud, but not ungrateful way, and dis 
patched his meal with satisfaction to himself, 
and me also. It afforded me pleasure to per 
ceive that he quaffed down his mug of cider 
like a man. I honored him. When I addressed 
him in the way of business at his buck, I did so 
in a guardedly respectful and deferential man 
ner. Interested in his singular aspect, struck 
by his wondrous intensity of application at his 
saw a most wearisome and disgustful occu 
pation to most people I often sought to 
gather from him who he was, what sort of a life 
he led, where he was born, and so on. But he 
was mum. He came to saw my wood, and eat 
my dinners if I chose to offer them but not 
to gabble. At first, I somewhat resented his sul 
len silence under the circumstances. But better 
considering it, I honored him the more. I in 
creased the respectfulness and deferentialness 
of my address toward him. I concluded within 
myself that this man had experienced hard 
times ; that he had had many sore rubs in the 

[239] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

world ; that he was of a solemn disposition ; that 
he was of the mind of Solomon; that he lived 
calmly, decorously, temperately; and though 
a very poor man, was, nevertheless, a highly 
respectable one. At times I imagined that he 
might even be an elder or deacon of some small 
country church. I thought it would not be a 
bad plan to run this excellent man for Presi 
dent of the United States. He would prove a 
great reformer of abuses. 

His name was Merrymusk. I had often 
thought how jolly a name for so un jolly a 
wight. I inquired of people whether they knew 
Merrymusk. But it was some time before I 
learned much about him. He was by birth a 
Marylander, it appeared, who had long lived 
in the country round about ; a wandering man ; 
until within some ten years ago, a thriftless 
man, though perfectly innocent of crime; a 
man who would work hard a month with sur 
prising soberness, and then spend all his wages 
in one riotous night. In youth he had been a 
sailor, and run away from his ship at Batavia, 
where he caught the fever, and came nigh 
dying. But he rallied, reshipped, landed home, 
found all his friends dead, and struck for the 

[240] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

Northern interior, where he had since tarried. 
Nine years back he had married a wife, and 
now had four children. His wife was become a 
perfect invalid; one child had the white-swell 
ing and the rest were rickety. He and his 
family lived in a shanty on a lonely barren 
patch nigh the railroad track, where it passed 
close to the base of the mountain. He had 
bought a fine cow to have plenty of wholesome 
milk for his children ; but the cow died during 
an accouchement, and he could not afford to 
buy another. Still, his family never suffered for 
lack of food. He worked hard and brought it 
to them. 

Now, as I said before, having long previous 
ly sawed my wood, this Merrymusk came for 
his pay. 

"My friend," said I, "do you know of any 
gentleman hereabouts who owns an extraordi 
nary cock?" 

The twinkle glittered quite plain in the 
wood-sawyer s eye. 

"I know of no gentleman" he replied, "who 
has what might well be called an extraordinary 
cock." 

Oh, thought I, this Merrymusk is not the 

[241] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

man to enlighten me. I am afraid I shall never 
discover this extraordinary cock. 

Not having the full change to pay Merry- 
musk, I gave him his due, as nigh as I could 
make it, and told him that in a day or two I 
would take a walk and visit his place, and hand 
to him the remainder. Accordingly one fine 
morning I sallied forth upon the errand. I had 
much ado finding the best road to the shanty. 
No one seemed to know where it was exactly. 
It lay in a very lonely part of the country, a 
densely- wooded mountain on one side (which 
I call October Mountain, on account of its ban 
nered aspect in that month), and a thicketed 
swamp on the other, the railroad cutting the 
swamp. Straight as a die the railroad cut it; 
many times a day tantalizing the wretched 
shanty with the sight of all the beauty, rank, 
fashion, health, trunks, silver and gold, dry- 
goods and groceries, brides and grooms, happy 
wives and husbands, flying by the lonely door 
no time to stop flash! here they are and 
there they go ! out of sight at both ends as if 
that part of the world were only made to fly over, 
and not to settle upon. And this was about 
all the shanty saw of what people call life. 

[242] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

Though puzzled somewhat, yet I knew the 
general direction where the shanty lay, and on 
I trudged. As I advanced, I was surprised to 
hear the mysterious cock crow with more and 
more distinctness. Is it possible, thought I, 
that any gentleman owning a Shanghai can 
dwell in such a lonesome, dreary region? 
Louder and louder, nigher and nigher, sound 
ed the glorious and defiant clarion. Though 
somehow I may be out of the track to my 
wood-sawyer s, I said to myself, yet, thank 
heaven, I seem to be on the way toward that 
extraordinary cock. I was delighted with this 
auspicious accident. On I journeyed; while at 
intervals the crow sounded most invitingly, 
and jocundly, and superbly; and the last crow 
was ever nigher than the former one. At last, 
emerging from a thicket of elders, straight be 
fore me I saw the most resplendent creature 
that ever blessed the sight of man. 

A cock, more like a golden eagle than a cock. 
A cock, more like a field marshal than a cock. 
A cock, more like Lord Nelson with all his glit 
tering arms on, standing on the Vanguard s 
quarter-deck going into battle, than a cock. A 
cock, more like the Emperor Charlemagne in 

[243] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

his robes at Aix la Chapelle, than a cock. 

Such a cock! 

He was of a haughty size, stood haughtily 
on his haughty legs. His colors were red, gold, 
and white. The red was on his crest along, 
which was a mighty and symmetric crest, like 
unto Hector s helmet, as delineated on antique 
shields. His plumage was snowy, traced with 
gold. He walked in front of the shanty, like a 
peer of the realm; his crest lifted, his chest 
heaved out, his embroidered trappings flashing 
in the light. His pace was wonderful. He 
looked like some Oriental king in some mag 
nificent Italian opera. 

Merrymusk advanced from the door. 

"Pray is not that the Signor Beneventano ?" 

"Sir!" 

"That s the cock," said I, a little embar 
rassed. The truth was, my enthusiasm had be 
trayed me into a rather silly inadvertence. I 
had made a somewhat learned sort of allusion 
in the presence of an unlearned man. Conse 
quently, upon discovering it by his honest 
stare, I felt foolish; but carried it off by declar 
ing that this was the cock. 

Now, during the preceding autumn I had 

[244] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

been to the city, and had chanced to be present 
at a performance of the Italian Opera. In that 
opera figured in some royal character a cer 
tain Signor Beneventano a man of a tall, im 
posing person, clad in rich raiment, like to 
plumage, and with a most remarkable, ma 
jestic, scornful stride. The Signor Beneven 
tano seemed on the point of tumbling over 
backward with exceeding haughtiness. And, 
for all the world, the proud pace of the cock 
seemed the very stage-pace of the Signor 
Beneventano. 

Hark! suddenly the cock paused, lifted his 
head still higher, ruffled his plumes, seemed in 
spired, and sent forth a lusty crow. October 
Mountain echoed it; other mountains sent it 
back; still others rebounded it; it overran the 
country round. Now I plainly perceived how 
it was I had chanced to hear the gladdening 
sound on my distant hill. 

"Good heavens ! do you own the cock? Is that 
cock yours?" 

"Is it my cock!" said Merrymusk, looking 
slyly gleeful out of the corner of his long, 
solemn face. 

"Where did you get it?" 

[245] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

"It chipped the shell here. I raised it." 

"You?" 

Hark? Another crow. It might have raised 
the ghosts of all the pines and hemlocks ever 
cut down in that country. Marvelous cock! 
Having crowed, he strode on again, surround 
ed by a bevy of admiring hens. 

"What will you take for Signor Beneven- 
tano?" 

"Sir?" 

"That magic cock what will you take for 
him?" 

"I won t sell him." 

"I will give you fifty dollars." 

"Pooh!" 

"One hundred!" 

"Pish!" 

"Five hundred!" 

"Bah!" 

"And you a poor man." 

"No; don t I own that cock, and haven t I 
refused five hundred dollars for him?" 

"True," said I, in profound thought; 
"that s a fact. You won t sell him, then?" 

"No." 

"Will you give him?" 

[246] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

"No." 

"Will you keep him, then!" I shouted, in a 
rage. 

"Yes." 

I stood awhile admiring the cock, and won 
dering at the man. At last I felt a redoubled 
admiration of the one, and a redoubled defer 
ence for the other. 

"Won t you step in?" said Merrymusk. 

"But won t the cock be prevailed upon to 
join us?" said I. 

"Yes. Trumpet! hither, boy! hither!" 

The cock turned round, and strode up to 
Merrymusk. 

"Come!" 

The cock followed us into the shanty. 

"Crow!" 

The roof jarred. 

Oh, noble cock ! 

I turned in silence upon my entertainer. 
There he sat on an old battered chest, in his old 
battered gray coat, with patches at his knees 
and elbows, and a deplorably bunged hat. I 
glanced round the room. Bare rafters over 
head, but solid junks of jerked beef hanging 
from them. Earth floor, but a heap of potatoes 

[247] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

in one corner, and a sack of Indian meal in an 
other. A blanket was strung across the apart 
ment at the further end, from which came a 
woman s ailing voice and the voices of ailing 
children. But somehow in the ailing of these 
voices there seemed no complaint. 

"Mrs. Merrymusk and children?" 

"Yes." 

I looked at the cock. There he stood majesti 
cally in the middle of the room. He looked like 
a Spanish grandee caught in a shower, and 
standing under some peasant s shed. There 
was a strange supernatural look of contrast 
about him. He irradiated the shanty ; he glori 
fied its meanness. He glorified the battered 
chest, and tattered gray coat, and the bunged 
hat. He glorified the very voices which came in 
ailing tones from behind the screen. 

"Oh, father," cried a little sickly voice, "let 
Trumpet sound again." 

"Crow," cried Merrymusk. 

The cock threw himself into a posture. The 
roof jarred. 

"Does not this disturb Mrs. Merrymusk and 
the sick children?" 

"Crow again, Trumpet." 

[248] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

Thereof jarred. 

"It does not disturb them, then?" 
"Didn t you hear em ask for it?" 
"How is it, that your sick family like this 
crowing?" said I. "The cock is a glorious cock, 
with a glorious voice, but not exactly the sort 
of thing for a sick chamber, one would sup 
pose. Do they really like it?" 

"Don t you like it? Don t it do you good? 
Ain t it inspiring? Don t it impart pluck? give 
stuff against despair?" 

"All true," said I, removing my hat with 
profound humility before the brave spirit dis 
guised in the base coat. 

"But then," said I, still with some misgiv 
ings, "so loud, so wonderfully clamorous a 
crow, methinks might be amiss to invalids, and 
retard their convalescence." 

"Crow your best now, Trumpet!" 
I leaped from my chair. The cock frightened 
me, like some overpowering angel in the Apoc 
alypse. He seemed crowing over the fall of 
wicked Babylon, or crowing over the triumph 
of righteous Joshua in the vale of Askelon. 
When I regained my composure somewhat, an 

[249] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

inquisitive thought occurred to me. I resolved 
to gratify it. 

"Merrymusk, will you present me to your 
wife and children? " 

"Yes. Wife, the gentleman wants to step 



in." 



"He is very welcome," replied a weak voice. 

Going behind the curtain, there lay a wasted, 
but strangely cheerful human face; and that 
was pretty much all; the body, hid by the 
counterpane and an old coat, seemed too 
shrunken to reveal itself through such impedi 
ments. At the bedside sat a pale girl, minister 
ing. In another bed lay three children, side by 
side; three more pale faces. 

"Oh, father, we don t mislike the gentleman, 
but let us see Trumpet too." 

At a word, the cock strode behind the screen, 
and perched himself on the children s bed. All 
their wasted eyes gazed at him with a wild and 
spiritual delight. They seemed to sun them 
selves in the radiant plumage of the cock. 

"Better than a pothecary, eh," said Merry- 
musk. "This is Dr. Cock himself ." 

We retired from the sick ones, and I re- 

[250] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

seated myself again, lost in thought, over this 
strange household. 

"You seem a glorious independent fellow," 
said I. 

"And I don t think you a fool, and never 
did. Sir, you are a trump." 

"Is there any hope of your wife s recovery?" 
said I, modestly seeking to turn the conversa 
tion. 

"Not the least." 

"The children?" 

"Very little." 

"It must be a doleful life, then, for all con 
cerned. This lonely solitude this shanty- 
hard work hard times." 

"Haven t I Trumpet? He s the cheerer. He 
crows through all ; crows at the darkest : Glory 
to God in the highest ! Continually he crows it." 

"Just the import I first ascribed to his crow, 
Merrymusk, when first I heard it from my hill. 
I thought some rich nabob owned some costly 
Shanghai; little weening any such poor man 
as you owned this lusty cock of a domestic 
breed." 

"Poor man like me? Why call me poor? 
Don t the cock / own glorify this otherwise in- 

[251] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

glorious, lean, lantern- jawed land? Didn t my 
cock encourage you? And / give you all this 
glorification away gratis. I am a great philan 
thropist. I am a rich man a very rich man, 
and a very happy one. Crow, Trumpet." 

Thereof jarred. 

I returned home in a deep mood. I was not 
wholly at rest concerning the soundness of 
Merrymusk s views of things, though full of 
admiration for him. I was thinking on the 
matter before my door, when I heard the cock 
crow again. Enough. Merrymusk is right. 

Oh, noble cock! oh, noble man! 

I did not see Merrymusk for some weeks 
after this; but hearing the glorious and rejoic 
ing crow, I supposed that all went as usual 
with him. My own frame of mind remained a 
rejoicing one. The cock still inspired me. I saw 
another mortgage piled on my plantation ; but 
only bought another dozen of stout, and a 
dozen-dozen of Philadelphia porter. Some of 
my relatives died; I wore no mourning, but 
for three days drank stout in preference to 
porter, stout being of the darker color. I heard 
the cock crow the instant I received the un 
welcome tidings. 

[252] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

"Your health in this stout, oh, noble cock!" 

I thought I would call on Merrymusk again, 
not having seen or heard of him for some time 
now. Approaching the place, there were no 
signs of motion about the shanty. I felt a 
strange misgiving. But the cock crew from 
within doors, and the boding vanished. I 
knocked at the door. A feeble voice bade me 
enter. The curtain was no longer drawn; the 
whole house was a hospital now. Merrymusk 
lay on a heap of old clothes ; wife and children 
were all in their beds. The cock was perched 
on an old hogshead hoop, swung from the 
ridge-pole in the middle of the shanty. 

"You are sick, Merrymusk," said I mourn 
fully. 

"No, I am well," he feebly answered. 

"Crow, Trumpet." 

I shrunk. The strong soul in the feeble body 
appalled me. 

But the cock crew. 

The roof jarred. 

"How is Mrs. Merrymusk?" 

"Well." 

"And the children?" 

"Well. All well." 

[253] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

The last two words he shouted forth in a 
kind of wild ecstasy of triumph over ill. It was 
too much. His head fell back. A white napkin 
seemed dropped upon his face. Merrymusk 
was dead. 

An awful fear seized me. 

But the cock crew. 

The cock shook his plumage as if each 
feather were a banner. The cock hung from the 
shanty roof as erewhile the trophied flags from 
the dome of St. Paul s. The cock terrified me 
with exceeding wonder. 

I drew nigh the bedsides of the woman and 
children. They marked my look of strange 
affright ; they knew what had happened. 

"My good man is just dead," breathed the 
woman lowly. "Tell me true?" 

"Dead," said I. 

The cock crew. 

She fell back, without a sigh, and through 
long-loving sympathy was dead. 

The cock crew. 

The cock shook sparkles from his golden 
plumage. The cock seemed in a rapture of 
benevolent delight. Leaping from the hoop, he 
strode up majestically to the pile of old clothes, 

[254] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

where the wood-sawyer lay, and planted him 
self, like an armorial supporter, at his side. 
Then raised one long, musical, triumphant, 
and final sort of a crow, with throat heaved far 
back, as if he meant the blast to waft the wood- 
sawyer s soul sheer up to the seventh heavens. 
Then he strode, king-like, to the woman s bed. 
Another upturned and exultant crow, mated 
to the former. 

The pallor of the children was changed to 
radiance. Their faces shone celestially through 
grime and dirt. They seemed children of em 
perors and kings, disguised. The cock sprang 
upon their bed, shook himself, and crowed, and 
crowed again, and still and still again. He 
seemed bent upon crowing the souls of the 
children out of their wasted bodies. He seemed 
bent upon rejoining instanter this whole 
family in the upper air. The children seemed 
to second his endeavors. Far, deep, intense 
longings for release transfigured them into 
spirits before my eyes. I saw angels where 
they lay. 

They were dead. 

The cock shook his plumage over them. The 
cock crew. It was now like a Bravo ! like a Hur- 

[255] 



COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! 

rah! like a Three-times-three! hip! hip! He 
strode out of the shanty. I followed. He flew 
upon the apex of the dwelling, spread wide his 
wings, sounded one supernatural note, and 
dropped at my feet. 

The cock was dead. 

If now you visit that hilly region, you will 
see, nigh the railroad track, just beneath Oc 
tober Mountain, on the other side of the swamp 
there you will see a gravestone, not with 
skull and cross-bones, but with a lusty cock in 
act of crowing, chiseled on it, with the words 
beneath : 

"0 death, where is thy sting? 
grave, where is thy victory?" 

The wood-sawyer and his family, with the Sig- 
nor Beneventano, lie in that spot; and I buried 
them, and planted the stone, which was a stone 
made to order; and never since then have I felt 
the doleful dumps, but under all circumstances 
crow late and early with a continual crow. 
Cock-a-Doodle-Doo ! oo ! oo ! oo ! oo ! 



[256] 



THE FIDDLER 



SO my poem is damned, and immortal fame 
is not for me ! I am nobody forever and ever. 
Intolerable fate ! 

Snatching my hat, I dashed down the criti 
cism and rushed out into Broadway, where en 
thusiastic throngs were crowding to a circus 
in a side-street near by, very recently started, 
and famous for a capital clown. 

Presently my old friend Standard rather 
boisterously accosted me. 

"Well met, Helmstone, my boy! Ah! what s 
the matter? Haven t been committing murder? 
Ain t flyingg justice? You look wild!" 

"You have seen it, then!" said I, of course 
referring to the criticism. 

"Oh, yes; I was there at the morning per 
formance. Great clown, I assure you. But here 
comes Hautboy. Hautboy Helmstone." 

Without having time or inclination to re 
sent so mortifying a mistake, I was instantly 

[257] 



THE FIDDLER 

soothed as I gazed on the face of the new ac 
quaintance so unceremoniously introduced. 
His person was short and full, with a juve 
nile, animated cast to it. His complexion rural 
ly ruddy ; his eye sincere, cheery, and gray. His 
hair alone betrayed that he was not an over 
grown boy. From his hair I set him down as 
forty or more. 

"Come, Standard," he gleefully cried to my 
friend, "are you not going to the circus? The 
clown is inimitable, they say. Come, Mr. 
Helmstone, too come both; and circus over, 
we ll take a nice stew and punch at Taylor s." 

The sterling content, good-humor, and ex 
traordinary ruddy, sincere expression of this 
most singular new acquaintance acted upon me 
like magic. It seemed mere loyalty to human 
nature to accept an invitation from so unmis 
takably kind and honest a heart. 

During the circus performance I kept my 
eye more on Hautboy than on the celebrated 
clown. Hautboy was the sight for me. Such 
genuine enjoyment as his struck me to the soul 
with a sense of the reality of the thing called 
happiness. The jokes of the clown he seemed 
to roll under his tongue as ripe magnum- 

[258] 



THE FIDDLER 

bonums. Now the foot, now the hand, was em 
ployed to attest his grateful applause. At any 
hit more than ordinary, he turned upon Stand 
ard and me to see if his rare pleasure was 
shared. In a man of forty I saw a boy of 
twelve; and this too without the slightest 
abatement of my respect. Because all was so 
honest and natural, every expression and atti 
tude so graceful with genuine good-nature, 
that the marvelous juvenility of Hautboy as 
sumed a sort of divine and immortal air, like 
that of some forever youthful god of Greece. 

But much as I gazed upon Hautboy, and 
much as I admired his air, yet that desperate 
mood in which I had first rushed from the 
house had not so entirely departed as not to 
molest me with momentary returns. But from 
these relapses I would rouse myself, and swift 
ly glance round the broad amphitheatre of 
eagerly interested and all-applauding human 
faces. Hark! claps, thumps, deafening huzzas; 
the vast assembly seemed frantic with acclama 
tion; and what, mused I, has caused all this? 
Why, the clown only comically grinned with 
one of his extra grins. 

Then I repeated in my mind that sublime 

[259] 



THE FIDDLER 

passage in my poem, in which Cleothemes the 
Argive vindicates the justice of the war. Ay, 
ay, thought I to myself, did I now leap into the 
ring there, and repeat that identical passage, 
nay, enact the whole tragic poem before them, 
would they applaud the poet as they applaud 
the clown ? No ! They would hoot me, and call 
me doting or mad. Then what does this prove ? 
Your infatuation or their insensibility? Per 
haps both; but indubitably the first. But why 
wail ? Do you seek admiration from the admir 
ers of a buffoon? Call to mind the saying of the 
Athenian, who, when the people vociferously 
applauded in the forum, asked his friend in a 
whisper, what foolish thing had he said? 

Again my eye swept the circus, and fell 
on the ruddy radiance of the countenance of 
Hautboy. But its clear honest cheeriness dis 
dained my disdain. My intolerant pride was 
rebuked. And yet Hautboy dreamed not what 
magic reproof to a soul like mine sat on his 
laughing brow. At the very instant I felt the 
dart of the censure, his eye twinkled, his hand 
waved, his voice was lifted in jubilant delight 
at another joke of the inexhaustible clown. 

Circus over, we went to Taylor s. Among 

[260] 



THE FIDDLER 

crowds of others, we sat down to our stews and 
punches at one of the small marble tables. 
Hautboy sat opposite to me. Though greatly 
subdued from its former hilarity, his face still 
shone with gladness. But added to this was a 
quality not so prominent before ; a certain se 
rene expression of leisurely, deep good sense. 
Good sense and good humor in him joined 
hands. As the conversation proceeded between 
the brisk Standard and him for I said little 
or nothing I was more and more struck with 
the excellent judgment he evinced. In most of 
his remarks upon a variety of topics Hautboy 
seemed intuitively to hit the exact line between 
enthusiasm and apathy. It was plain that while 
Hautboy saw the world pretty much as it was, 
yet he did not theoretically espouse its bright 
side nor its dark side. Rejecting all solutions, 
he but acknowledged facts. What was sad in 
the world he did not superficially gainsay; 
what was glad in it he did not cynically slur; 
and all which was to him personally enjoyable, 
he gratefully took to his heart. It was plain, 
then so it seemed at that moment, at least 
that his extraordinary cheerfulness did not 

[261] 



THE FIDDLER 

arise either from deficiency of feeling or 
thought. 

Suddenly remembering an engagement, he 
took up his hat, bowed pleasantly, and left us. 

"Well, Helmstone," said Standard, inaudi- 
bly drumming on the slab, "what do you think 
of your new acquaintance?" 

The last two words tingled with a peculiar 
and novel signficance. 

"New acquaintance indeed," echoed I. 
"Standard, I owe you a thousand thanks for 
introducing me to one of the most singular 
men I have ever seen. It needed the optical 
sight of such a man to believe in the possibility 
of his existence." 

"You rather like him, then," said Standard, 
with ironical dryness. 

"I hugely love and admire him, Standard. 
I wish I were Hautboy." 

"Ah? That s a pity now. There s only one 
Hautboy in the world." 

This last remark set me to pondering again, 
and somehow it revived my dark mood. 

"His wonderful cheerfulness, I suppose," 
said I, sneering with spleen, "originates not 
less in a felicitous fortune than in a felicitous 

[262] 



THE FIDDLER 

temper. His great good sense is apparent ; but 
great good sense may exist without sublime 
endowments. Nay, I take it, in certain cases, 
that good sense is simply owing to the absence 
of those. Much more, cheerfulness. Unpos 
sessed of genius, Hautboy is eternally blessed." 

"Ah? You would not think him an extra 
ordinary genius then?" 

"Genius? What! Such a short, fat fellow a 
genius! Genius, like Cassius, is lank." 

"Ah? But could you not fancy that Haut 
boy might formerly have had genius, but lucki 
ly getting rid of it, at last fatted up?" 

"For a genius to get rid of his genius is as 
impossible as for a man in the galloping con 
sumption to get rid of that." 

"Ah? You speak very decidedly." 

"Yes, Standard," cried I, increasing in 
spleen, "your cheery Hautboy, after all, is no 
pattern, no lesson for you and me. With aver 
age abilities; opinions clear, because circum 
scribed; passions docile, because they are 
feeble ; a temper hilarious, because he was born 
to it how can your Hautboy be made a rea 
sonable example to a heady fellow like you, or 
an ambitious dreamer like me ? Nothing tempts 

[263] 



THE FIDDLER 

him beyond common limit; in himself he has 
nothing to restrain. By constitution he is ex 
empted from all moral harm. Could ambition 
but prick him ; had he but once heard applause, 
or endured contempt, a very different man 
would your Hautboy be. Acquiescent and calm 
from the cradle to the grave, he obviously 
slides through the crowd." 

"Ah?" 

"Why do you say ah to me so strangely 
whenever I speak?" 

"Did you ever hear of Master Betty?" 

"The great English prodigy, who long ago 
ousted the Siddons and the Kembles from 
Druiy Lane, and made the whole town run 
mad with acclamation?" 

"The same," said Standard, once more in- 
audibly drumming on the slab. 

I looked at him perplexed. He seemed to be 
holding the master-key of our theme in mys 
terious reserve ; seemed to be throwing out his 
Master Betty too, to puzzle me only the more. 

"What under heaven can Master Betty, the 
great genius and prodigy, an English boy 
twelve years old, have to do with the poor 

[264] 



THE FIDDLER 

commonplace plodder Hautboy, an Ameri 
can of forty?" 

"Oh, nothing in the least. I don t imagine 
that they ever saw each other. Besides, Master 
Betty must be dead and buried long ere this." 

"Then why cross the ocean, and rifle the 
grave to drag his remains into this living dis 
cussion?" 

"Absent-mindedness, I suppose. I humbly 
beg pardon. Proceed with your observations 
on Hautboy. You think he never had genius, 
quite too contented and happy, and fat for 
that ah? You think him no pattern for men 
in general ? affording no lesson of value to neg 
lected merit, genius ignored, or impotent pre 
sumption rebuked ? all of which three amount 
to much the same thing. You admire his cheer 
fulness, while scorning his commonplace soul. 
Poor Hautboy, how sad that your very cheer 
fulness should, by a by-blow, bring you de 
spite!" 

"I don t say I scorn him; you are unjust. I 
simply declare that he is no pattern for me." 

A sudden noise at my side attracted my ear. 
Turning, I saw Hautboy again, who veiy 

[265] 



THE FIDDLER 

blithely reseated himself on the chair he had 
left. 

"I was behind time with my engagement," 
said Hautboy, "so thought I would run back 
and rejoin you. But come, you have sat long 
enough here. Let us go to my rooms. It is only 
five minutes walk." 

"If you will promise to fiddle for us, we 
will," said Standard. 

Fiddle! thought I he s a jigembob fiddler 
then? No wonder genius declines to measure its 
pace to a fiddler s bow. My spleen was very 
strong on me now. 

"I will gladly fiddle you your fill," replied 
Hautboy to Standard. "Come on." 

In a few minutes we found ourselves in the 
fifth story of a sort of storehouse, in a lateral 
street to Broadway. It was curiously furnished 
with all sorts of odd furniture which seemed 
to have been obtained, piece by piece, at auc 
tions of old-fashioned household stuff. But all 
was charmingly clean and cosy. 

Pressed by Standard, Hautboy forthwith 
got out his dented old fiddle, and sitting down 
on a tall rickety stool, played away right mer 
rily at Yankee Doodle and other off-handed, 

[266] 



THE FIDDLER 

dashing, and disdainfully care-free airs. But 
common as were the tunes, I was transfixed by 
something miraculously superior in the style. 
Sitting there on the old stool, his rusty hat side 
ways cocked on his head, one foot dangling 
adrift, he plied the bow of an enchanter. All 
my moody discontent, every vestige of peevish 
ness fled. My whole splenetic soul capitulated 
to the magical fiddle. 

"Something of an Orpheus, ah?" said Stand 
ard, archly nudging me beneath the left rib. 

"And I, the charmed Bruin," murmured I. 

The fiddle ceased. Once more, with re 
doubled curiosity, I gazed upon the easy, 
indifferent Hautboy. But he entirely baffled 
inquisition. 

When, leaving him, Standard and I were 
in the street once more, I earnestly conjured 
him to tell me who, in sober truth, this marvel 
ous Hautboy was. 

"Why, haven t you seen him? And didn t 
you yourself lay his whole anatomy open on 
the marble slab at Taylor s? What more can 
you possibly learn? Doubtless your own mas 
terly insight has already put you in possession 
of all." 

[267] 



THE FIDDLER 

"You mock me, Standard. There is some 
mystery here. Tell me, I entreat you, who is 
Hautboy?" 

"An extraordinary genius, Helmstone," 
said Standard, with sudden ardor, "who in 
boyhood drained the whole flagon of glory; 
whose going from city to city was a going from 
triumph to triumph. One who has been an ob 
ject of wonder to the wisest, been caressed by 
the loveliest, received the open homage of 
thousands on thousands of the rabble. But to 
day he walks Broadway and no man knows 
him. With you and me, the elbow of the hurry 
ing clerk, and the pole of the remorseless omni 
bus, shove him. He who has a hundred times 
been crowned with laurels, now wears, as you 
see, a bunged beaver. Once fortune poured 
showers of gold into his lap, as showers of 
laurel leaves upon his brow. To-day, from 
house to house he hies, teaching fiddling for a 
living. Crammed once with fame, he is now 
hilarious without it. With genius and without 
fame, he is happier than a king. More a prodi 
gy now than ever." 

"His true name?" 

"Let me whisper it in your ear." 

[268] 



THE FIDDLER 

"What! Oh, Standard, myself, as a child, 
have shouted myself hoarse applauding that 
very name in the theatre." 

"I have heard your poem was not very hand 
somely received," said Standard, now sud 
denly shifting the subject. 

"Not a word of that, for heaven s sake!" 
cried I. "If Cicero, traveling in the East, found 
sympathetic solace for his grief in beholding 
the arid overthrow of a once gorgeous city, 
shall not my petty affair be as nothing, when I 
behold in Hautboy the vine and the rose climb 
ing the shattered shafts of his tumbled temple 
of Fame?" 

Next day I tore all my manuscripts, bought 
me a fiddle, and went to take regular lessons of 
Hautboy. 



[269] 



POOR MAN S PUDDING AND 
RICH MAN S CRUMBS 

PICTURE FIRST 
POOR MAN S PUDDING 

OU see," said poet Blandmour, enthusi- 
astically as some forty years ago we 
walked along the road in a soft, moist snow 
fall, toward the end of March "you see, my 
friend, that the blessed almoner, Nature, is in 
all things beneficent ; and not only so, but con 
siderate in her charities, as any discreet human 
philanthropist might be. This snow, now, 
which seems so unseasonable, is in fact just 
what a poor husbandman needs. Rightly is this 
soft March snow, falling just before seed-time, 
rightly it is called Poor Man s Manure. Dis 
tilling from kind heaven upon the soil, by a 
gentle penetration it nourishes every clod, 
ridge, and furrow. To the poor farmer it is as 
good as the rich farmer s farmyard enrich 
ments. And the poor man has no trouble to 
spread it, while the rich man has to spread 
his." 

[271] 



POOR MAN S PUDDING 

"Perhaps so," said I, without equal enthusi 
asm, brushing some of the damp flakes from 
my chest. "It may be as you say, dear Bland- 
mour. But tell me, how is it that the wind 
drives yonder drifts of Poor Man s Manure 
off poor Coulter s two-acre patch here, and 
piles it up yonder on rich Squire Teamster s 
twenty-acre field?" 

"Ah! to be sure yes well ; Coulter s field, 
I suppose is sufficiently moist without further 
moistenings. Enough is as good as a feast, you 
know." 

"Yes," replied I, "of this sort of damp fare," 
shaking another shower of the damp flakes 
from my person. "But tell me, this warm 
spring snow may answer very well, as you 
say; but how is it with the cold snows of the 
long, long winters here?" 

"Why, do you not remember the words of 
the Psalmist? The Lord giveth snow like 
wool ; meaning not only that snow is white as 
wool, but warm, too, as wool. For the only 
reason, as I take it, that wool is comfortable, is 
because air is entangled, and therefore warmed 
among its fibres. Just so, then, take the tem 
perature of a December field when covered 

[272] 



POOR MAN S PUDDING 

with this snow-fleece, and you will no doubt 
find it several degrees above that of the air. So, 
you see, the winter s snow itself is beneficent ; 
under the pretense of frost a sort of gruff 
philanthropist actually warming the earth, 
which afterward is to be fertilizingly moist 
ened by these gentle flakes of March." 

"I like to hear you talk, dear Blandmour; 
and, guided by your benevolent heart, can only 
wish to poor Coulter plenty of this Poor 
Man s Manure. " 

"But that is not all," said Blandmour, eager 
ly. "Did you never hear of the Poor Man s 
Eye-water ?" 

"Never." 

"Take this soft March snow, melt it, and 
bottle it. It keeps pure as alcohol. The very 
best thing in the world for weak eyes. I have 
a whole demijohn of it myself. But the poorest 
man, afflicted in his eyes, can freely help him 
self to this same all-bountiful remedy. Now, 
what a kind provision is that!" 

"Then Poor Man s Manure is Poor Man s 
Eye-water too?" 

"Exactly. And what could be more eco- 

[273] 



POOR MAN S PUDDING 

nomically contrived? One thing answering two 
ends ends so very distinct." 

"Very distinct, indeed." 

"Ah! that is your way. Making sport of 
earnest. But never mind. We have been talk 
ing of snow ; but common rain-water such as 
falls all the year round is still more kindly. 
Not to speak of its known fertilizing quality as 
to fields, consider it in one of its minor lights. 
Pray, did you ever hear of a Poor Man s 
Egg ?" 

"Never. What is that, now?" 

"Why, in making some culinary prepara 
tions of meal and flour, where eggs are recom 
mended in the receipt-book, a substitute for the 
eggs may be had in a cup of cold rain-water, 
which acts as leaven. And so a cup of cold rain 
water thus used is called by housewives a Poor 
Man s Egg. And many rich men s housekeep 
ers sometimes use it." 

"But only when they are out of hen s eggs, 
I presume, dear Blandmour. But your talk is 
I sincerely say it most agreeable to me. 
Talk on." 

"Then there s Poor Man s Plaster for 
wounds and other bodily harms ; an alleviative 

[274] 



POOR MAN S PUDDING 

and curative, compounded of simple, natural 
things ; and so, being very cheap, is accessible 
to the poorest sufferers. Rich men often use 
Poor Man s Plaster ." 

"But not without the judicious advice of a 
fee d physician, dear Blandmour." 

"Doubtless, they first consult the physician; 
but that may be an unnecessary precaution." 

"Perhaps so. I do not gainsay it. Go on." 

"Well, then, did you ever eat of a Poor 
Man s Pudding ?" 

"I never so much as heard of it before." 

"Indeed! Well, now you shall eat of one; 
and you shall eat it, too, as made, unprompted, 
by a poor man s wife, and you shall eat it at a 
poor man s table, and in a poor man s house. 
Come now, and if after this eating, you do not 
say that a Poor Man s Pudding is as relish- 
able as a rich man s, I will give up the point 
altogether ; which briefly is : that, through kind 
Nature, the poor, out of their very poverty, 
extract comfort." 

Not to narrate any more of our conversa 
tions upon this subject (for we had several I 
being at that time the guest of Blandmour in 
the country, for the benefit of my health), 

[275] 



POOR MAN S PUDDING 

suffice it that acting upon Blandmour s hint, I 
introduced myself into Coulter s house on a 
wet Monday noon (for the snow had thawed) , 
under the innocent pretense of craving a pedes 
trian s rest and refreshment for an hour or two. 
I was greeted, not without much embarrass 
ment owing, I suppose to my dress but still 
with unaffected and honest kindness. Dame 
Coulter was just leaving the wash-tub to get 
ready her one o clock meal against her good 
man s return from a deep wood about a mile 
distant among the hills, where he was chopping 
by day s work seventy-five cents per day and 
found himself. The washing being done outside 
the main building, under an infirm-looking old 
shed, the dame stood upon a half -rotten soaked 
board to protect her feet, as well as might be, 
from the penetrating damp of the bare ground ; 
hence she looked pale and chill. But her pale 
ness had still another and more secret cause 
the paleness of a mother to be. A quiet, fathom 
less heart-trouble, too, couched beneath the 
mild, resigned blue of her soft and wife-like 
eye. But she smiled upon me, as apologizing 
for the unavoidable disorder of a Monday and 
a washing-day, and, conducting me into the 

[276] 



POOR MAN S PUDDING 

kitchen, set me down in the best seat it had an 
old-fashioned chair of an enfeebled constitu 
tion. 

I thanked her; and sat rubbing my hands 
before the ineffectual low fire, and unobserv- 
antly as I could glancing now and then about 
the room, while the good woman, throwing on 
more sticks said she was sorry the room was 
no warmer. Something more she said, too not 
repiningly, however of the fuel, as old and 
damp ; picked-up sticks in Squire Teamster s 
forest, where her husband was chopping the 
sappy logs of the living tree for the Squire s 
fires. It needed not her remark, whatever it 
was, to convince me of the inferior quality of 
the sticks; some being quite mossy and toad- 
stooled with long lying bedded among the 
accumulated dead leaves of many autumns. 
They made a sad hissing, and vain spluttering 
enough. 

"You must rest yourself here till dinner 
time, at least," said the dame; "what I have 
you are heartily welcome to." 

I thanked her again, and begged her not to 
heed my presence in the least, but go on with 
her usual affairs. 

[277] 



POOR MAN S PUDDING 

I was struck by the aspect of the room. The 
house was old, and constitutionally damp. The 
window-sills had beads of exuded dampness 
upon them. The shriveled sashes shook in their 
frames, and the green panes of glass were 
clouded with the long thaw. On some little 
errand the dame passed into an adjoining 
chamber, leaving the door partly open. The 
floor of that room was carpetless, as the 
kitchen s was. Nothing but bare necessaries 
were about me ; and those not of the best sort. 
Not a print on the wall but an old volume of 
Doddridge lay on the smoked chimney-shelf. 

"You must have walked a long way, sir; you 
sigh so with weariness." 

"No, I am not nigh so weaiy as yourself, I 
dare say." 

"Oh, but I am accustomed to that; you are 
not, I should think," and her soft, sad blue eye 
ran over my dress. "But I must sweep these 
shavings away; husband made him a new ax- 
helve this morning before sunrise, and I have 
been so busy washing, that I have had no time 
to clear up. But now they are just the thing 
I want for the fire. They d be much better 
though, were they not so green." 

[278] 



POOR MAN S PUDDING 

Now if Blandmour were here, thought I 
to myself, he would call those green shav 
ings "Poor Man s Matches," or "Poor Man s 
Tinder," or some pleasant name of that sort. 

"I do not know," said the good woman, 
turning round to me again as she stirred 
among her pots on the smoky fire "I do not 
know how you will like our pudding. It is only 
rice, milk, and salt boiled together." 

"Ah, What they call Poor Man s Pudding, 
I suppose you mean?" 

A quick flush, half resentful, passed over 
her face. 

"We do not call it so, sir," she said, and was 
silent. 

Upbraiding myself for my inadvertence, 
I could not but again think to myself what 
Blandmour would have said, had he heard 
those words and seen that flush. 

At last a slow, heavy footfall was heard; 
then a scraping at the door, and another voice 
said, "Come, wife; come, come I must be 
back again in a jif if you say I must take 
all my meals at home, you must be speedy; 
because the Squire Good-day, sir," he ex 
claimed, now first catching sight of me as he 

[279] 



POOR MAN S PUDDING 

entered the room. He turned toward his wife, 
inquiringly, and stood stock-still, while the 
moisture oozed from his patched boots to the 
floor. 

"This gentleman stops here awhile to rest 
and refresh: he will take dinner with us, too. 
All will be ready now in a trice : so sit down on 
the bench, husband, and be patient, I pray. 
You see, sir," she continued, turning to me, 
"William there wants, of mornings, to carry a 
cold meal into the woods with him, to save the 
long one-o clock walk across the fields to and 
fro. But I won t let him. A warm dinner is 
more than pay for the long walk." 

"I don t know about that," said William, 
shaking his head. "I have often debated in my 
mind whether it really paid. There s not much 
odds, either way, between a wet walk after 
hard work, and a wet dinner before it. But I 
like to oblige a good wife like Martha. And 
you know, sir, that women will have their 
whimseys." 

"I wish they all had as kind whimseys as 
your wife has," said I. 

"Well, I ve heard that some women ain t all 

[280] 



POOR MAN S PUDDING 

maple-sugar; but, content with dear Martha, 
I don t know much about others." 

"You find rare wisdom in the woods," 
mused I. 

"Now, husband, if you ain t too tired, just 
lend a hand to draw the table out." 

"Nay," said I; "let him rest, and let me 
help." 

"No," said William, rising. 

"Sit still," said his wife to me. 

The table set, in due time we all found our 
selves with plates before us. 

"You see what we have," said Coulter 
"salt pork, rye-bread, and pudding. Let me 
help you. I got this pork of the Squire; some 
of his last year s pork, which he let me have on 
account. It isn t quite as sweet as this year s 
would be ; but I find it hearty enough to work 
on, and that s all I eat for. Only let the rheu- 
matiz and other sicknesses keep clear of me, 
and I ask no flavors or favors from any. But 
you don t eat of the pork!" 

"I see," said the wife, gently and gravely, 
"that the gentleman knows the difference be 
tween this year s and last year s pork. But per 
haps he will like the pudding." 

[281] 



POOR MAN S PUDDING 

I summoned up all my self-control, and 
smilingly assented to the proposition of the 
pudding, without by my looks casting any re 
flections upon the pork. But, to tell the truth, 
it was quite impossible for me (not being 
ravenous, but only a little hungry at that time) 
to eat of the latter. It had a yellowish crust all 
round it, and was rather rankish, I thought, to 
the taste. I observed, too, that the dame did not 
eat of it, though she suffered some to be put 
on her plate, and pretended to be busy with it 
when Coulter looked that way. But she ate of 
the rye-bread, and so did I. 

"Now, then, for the pudding," said Coulter. 
"Quick, wife; the Squire sits in his sitting- 
room window, looking far out across the fields. 
His time-piece is true." 

"He don t play the spy on you, does he?" 
said I. 

"Oh, no! I don t say that. He s a good 
enough man. He gives me work. But he s par 
ticular. Wife, help the gentleman. You see, sir, 
if I lose the Squire s work, what will become 
of and, with a look for which I honored 
humanity, with sly significance, he glanced 
toward his wife; then, a little changing his 

[282] 



POOR MAN S PUDDING 

voice, instantly continued "that fine horse I 
am going to buy?" 

"I guess," said the dame, with a strange, sub 
dued sort of inefficient pleasantry "I guess 
that fine horse you sometimes so merrily dream 
of will long stay in the Squire s stall. But 
sometimes his man gives me a Sunday ride." 

"A Sunday ride! "said I. 

"You see," resumed Coulter, "wife loves to 
go to church ; but the nighest is four miles off, 
over yon snowy hills. So she can t walk it; and 
I can t carry her in my arms, though I have 
carried her up-stairs before now. But, as she 
says, the Squire s man sometimes gives her a 
lift on the road; and for this cause it is that I 
speak of a horse I am going to have one of 
these fine sunny days. And already, before 
having it, I have christened it Martha. But 
what am I about? Come, come, wife! The pud 
ding ! Help the gentleman, do ! The Squire ! the 
Squire! think of the Squire! and help round 
the pudding. There, one two three mouth- 
fuls must do me. Good-by, wife, Good-by, 
sir, I m off." 

And, snatching his soaked hat, the noble 

[283] 



POOR MAN S PUDDING 

Poor Man hurriedly went out into the soak 
and the mire. 

I suppose now, thinks I to myself, that 
Blandmour would poetically say, He goes to 
take a Poor Man s saunter. 

"You have a fine husband," said I to the 
woman, as we were now left together. 

"William loves me this day as on the 
wedding-day, sir. Some hasty words, but never 
a harsh one. I wish I were better and stronger 
for his sake. And, oh! sir, both for his sake and 
mine" (and the soft, blue, beautiful eyes 
turned into two well-springs), "how I wish 
little William and Martha lived it is so lonely - 
like now. William named after him, and Mar 
tha for me." 

When a companion s heart of itself over 
flows, the best one can do is to do nothing. 
I sat looking down on my as yet untasted 
pudding. 

"You should have seen little William, sir. 
Such a bright, manly boy, only six years old 
cold, cold now!" 

Plunging my spoon into the pudding, I 
forced some into my mouth to stop it. 

"And little Martha Oh! sir, she was the 

[284] 



POOR MAN S PUDDING 

beauty! Bitter, bitter! but needs must be 
borne!" 

The mouthful of pudding now touched my 
palate, and touched it with a mouldy, briny 
taste. The rice, I knew, was of that damaged 
sort sold cheap; and the salt from the last 
year s pork barrel. 

"Ah, sir, if those little ones yet to enter the 
world were the same little ones which so sadly 
have left it; returning friends, not strangers, 
strangers, always strangers! Yet does a 
mother soon learn to love them ; for certain, sir, 
they come from where the others have gone. 
Don t you believe that, sir? Yes, I know all 
good people must. But, still, still and I fear 
it is wicked, and very black-hearted, too still, 
strive how I may to cheer me with thinking of 
little William and Martha in heaven, and with 
reading Dr. Doddridge there still, still does 
dark grief leak in, just like the rain through 
our roof. I am left so lonesome now ; day after 
day, all the day long, dear William is gone; 
and all the damp day long grief drizzles and 
drizzles down on my soul. But I pray to God to 
forgive me for this ; and for the rest, manage 
it as well as I may." 

[285] 



POOR MAN S PUDDING 

Bitter and mouldy is the "Poor Man s 
Pudding," groaned I to myself, half choked 
with but one little mouthful of it, which would 
hardly go down. 

I could stay no longer to hear of sorrows for 
which the sincerest sympathies could give no 
adequate relief ; of a fond persuasion, to which 
there could be furnished no further proof than 
already was had a persuasion, too, of that 
sort which much speaking is sure more or less 
to mar ; of causeless self -upbraidings, which no 
expostulations could have dispelled, I offered 
no pay for hospitalities gratuitous and honor 
able as those of a prince. I knew that such offer 
ings would have been more than declined; 
charity resented. 

The native American poor never lose their 
delicacy or pride ; hence, though unreduced to 
the physical degradation of the European 
pauper, they yet suffer more in mind than the 
poor of any other people in the world. Those 
peculiar social sensibilities nourished by our 
peculiar political principles, while they enhance 
the true dignity of a prosperous American, do 
but minister to the added wretchedness of the 
unfortunate ; first, by prohibiting their accept- 

[286] 



POOR MAN S PUDDING 

ance of what little random relief charity may 
offer ; and, second, by furnishing them with the 
keenest appreciation of the smarting distinc 
tion between their ideal of universal equality 
and their grindstone experience of the practi 
cal misery and infamy of poverty a misery 
and infamy which is, ever has been, and ever 
will be, precisely the same in India, England, 
and America. 

Under pretense that my journey called me 
forthwith, I bade the dame good-by ; shook her 
cold hand; looked my last into her blue, re 
signed eye, and went out into the wet. But 
cheerless as it was, and damp, damp, damp 
the heavy atmosphere charged with all sorts of 
incipiencies I yet became conscious by the 
suddenness of the contrast, that the house air I 
had quitted was laden down with that peculiar 
deleterious quality, the height of which insuf 
ferable to some visitants will be found in a 
poorhouse ward. 

This ill-ventilation in winter of the rooms of 
the poor a thing, too, so stubbornly persisted 
in is usually charged upon them as their dis 
graceful neglect of the most simple means to 
health. But the instinct of the poor is wiser 

[287] 



POOR MAN S PUDDING 

than we think. The air which ventilates, like 
wise cools. And to any shiverer, ill- ventilated 
warmth is better than well- ventilated cold. Of 
all the preposterous assumptions of humanity 
over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the 
criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the 
well-housed, well- warmed, and well-fed. 

"Blandmour," said I that evening, as after 
tea I sat on his comfortable sofa, before a blaz 
ing fire, with one of his two ruddy little 
children on my knee, "y u are not what may 
rightly be called a rich man; you have a fair 
competence; no more. Is it not so? Well then, 
I do not include you, when I say, that if ever 
a rich man speaks prosperously to me of a 
Poor Man, I shall set it down as I won t 
mention the word." 



[288] 



PICTURE SECOND 
RICH MAN S CRUMBS 

IN the year 1814, during the summer follow 
ing my first taste of the "Poor Man s 
Pudding," a sea- voyage was recommended to 
me by my physician. The Battle of Waterloo 
having closed the long drama of Napoleon s 
wars, many strangers were visiting Europe. I 
arrived in London at the time the victorious 
princes were there assembled enjoying the 
Arabian Nights hospitalities of a grateful and 
gorgeous aristocracy, and the courtliest of 
gentlemen and kings George the Prince 
Regent. 

I had declined all letters but one to my 
banker. I wandered about for the best recep 
tion an adventurous traveler can have the 
reception I mean, which unsolicited chance and 
accident throw in his venturous way. 

But I omit all else to recount one hour s hap 
under the lead of a very friendly man, whose 
acquaintance I made in the open street of 
Cheapside. He wore a uniform, and was some 
sort of a civic subordinate; I forget exactly 

[289] 



RICH MAN S CRUMBS 

what. He was off duty that day. His discourse 
was chiefly of the noble charities of London. 
He took me to two or three, and made admir 
ing mention of many more. 

"But," said he, as we turned into Cheapside 
again, "if you are at all curious about such 
things, let me take you if it be not too late 
to one of the most interesting of all our Lord 
Mayor s Charities, sir; nay, the charities not 
only of a Lord Mayor, but, I may truly say, in 
this one instance, of emperors, regents, and 
kings. You remember the event of yesterday?" 

"That sad fire on the river-side, you mean, 
unhousing so many of the poor ? " 

"No. The grand Guildhall Banquet to the 
princes. Who can forget it? Sir, the dinner was 
served on nothing but solid silver and gold 
plate, worth at the least 200,000 that is, 
1,000,000 of your dollars; while the mere ex 
penditure of meats, wines, attendance and up 
holstery, etc., can not be footed under 25,000 
-120,000 dollars of your hard cash." 

"But, surely, my friend, you do not call that 
charity feeding kings at that rate?" 

"No. The feast came first yesterday; and 
the charity after to-day. How else would 

[290] 



RICH MAN S CRUMBS 

you have it, where princes are concerned? But 
I think we shall be quite in time come ; here 
we are at King Street, and down there is 
Guildhall. Will you go?" 

"Gladly, my good friend. Take me where 
you will. I come but to roam and see." 

Avoiding the main entrance of the hall, 
which was barred, he took me through some 
private way, and we found ourselves in a rear 
blind-walled place in the open air. I looked 
round amazed. The spot was grimy as a back 
yard in the Five Points. It was packed with a 
mass of lean, famished, ferocious creatures, 
struggling and fighting for some mysterious 
precedency, and all holding soiled blue tickets 
in their hands. 

"There is no other way," said my guide ; "we 
can only get in with the crowd. Will you try 
it ? I hope you have not on your drawing-room 
suit? What do you say? It will be well worth 
your sight. So noble a charity does not often 
offer. The one following the annual banquet of 
Lord Mayor s day fine a charity as that cer 
tainly is is not to be mentioned with what will 
be seen to-day. Is it, ay?" 

As he spoke, a basement door in the distance 

[291] 



RICH MAN S CRUMBS 

was thrown open, and the squalid mass made a 
rush for the dark vault beyond. 

I nodded to my guide, and sideways we 
joined in with the rest. Ere long we found our 
retreat cut off by the yelping crowd behind, 
and I could not but congratulate myself on 
having a civic, as well as civil guide ; one, too, 
whose uniform made evident his authority. 

It was just the same as if I were pressed by 
a mob of cannibals on some pagan beach. The 
beings round me roared with famine. For in 
this mighty London misery but maddens. In 
the country it softens. As I gazed on the 
meagre, murderous pack, I thought of the blue 
eye of the gentle wife of poor Coulter. Some 
sort of curved, glittering steel thing (not a 
sword; I know not what it was) , before worn 
in his belt, was now flourished overhead by my 
guide, menacing the creatures to forbear offer 
ing the stranger violence. 

As we drove, slow and wedge-like, into the 
gloomy vault, the howls of the mass reverber 
ated. I seemed seething in the Pit with the 
Lost. On and on, through the dark and damp, 
and then up a stone stairway to a wide portal ; 
when, diffusing, the pestiferous mob poured in 

[292] 



RICH MAN S CRUMBS 

bright day between painted walls and beneath 
a painted dome. I thought of the anarchic sack 
of Versailles. 

A few moments more and I stood bewildered 
among the beggars in the famous Guildhall. 

Where I stood where the thronged rabble 
stood, less than twelve hours before sat His 
Imperial Majesty, Alexander of Russia; His 
Royal Majesty, Frederick William, King of 
Prussia ; His Royal Highness, George, Prince 
Regent of England; His world-renowned 
Grace, the Duke of Wellington ; with a mob of 
magnificoes, made up of conquering field 
marshals, earls, counts, and innumerable other 
nobles of mark. 

The walls swept to and fro, like the foliage 
of a forest with blazonings of conquerors flags. 
Naught outside the hall was visible. No 
windows were within four-and-twenty feet 
of the floor. Cut off from all other sights, I 
was hemmed in by one splendid spectacle 
splendid, I mean, everywhere, but as the 
eye fell toward the floor. That was foul as a 
hovel s as a kennel s ; the naked boards being 
strewed with the smaller and more wasteful 
fragments of the feast, while the two long par- 

[293] 



RICH MAN S CRUMBS 

allel lines, up and down the hall, of now un 
robed, shabby, dirty pine-tables were piled 
with less trampled wrecks. The dyed banners 
were in keeping with the last night s kings : the 
floor suited the beggars of to-day. The banners 
looked upon the floor as from his balcony Dives 
upon Lazarus. A line of liveried men kept back 
with their staves the impatient jam of the mob, 
who, otherwise, might have instantaneously 
converted the Charity into a Pillage. Another 
body of gowned and gilded officials dis 
tributed the broken meats the cold victuals 
and crumbs of kings. One after another the 
beggars held up their dirty blue tickets, and 
were served with the plundered wreck of a 
pheasant, or the rim of a pasty like the de 
tached crown of an old hat the solids and 
meats stolen out. 

"What a noble charity," whispered my 
guide. "See that pasty now, snatched by that 
pale girl ; I dare say the Emperor of Russia ate 
of that last night." 

"Very probably," murmured I ; "it looks as 
though some omnivorous emperor or other 
had had a finger in that pie." 

"And see yon pheasant too there that 

[294] 



RICH MAN S CRUMBS 

one the boy in the torn shirt has it now look ! 
The Prince Regent might have dined off that." 

The two breasts were gouged ruthlessly out, 
exposing the bare bones, embellished with the 
untouched pinions and legs. 

"Yes, who knows!" said my guide, "his 
Royal Highness the Prince Regent might have 
eaten of that identical pheasant." 

"I don t doubt it," murmured I, "he is said 
to be uncommonly fond of the breast. But 
where is Napoleon s head in a charger? I 
should fancy that ought to have been the 
principal dish." 

"You are merry. Sir, even Cossacks are 
charitable here in Guildhall. Look ! the famous 
Platoff, the Hetman himself: (he was here 
last night with the rest) no doubt he thrust 
a lance into yon pork-pie there. Look ! the old 
shirtless man has it now. How he licks his 
chops over it, little thinking of or thanking the 
good, kind Cossack that left it him! Ah! an 
other a stouter has grabbed it. It falls ; bless 
my soul! the dish is quite empty only a bit 
of the hacked crust." 

"The Cossacks, my friend, are said to be im 
moderately fond of fat," observed I. "The 

[295] 



RICH MAN S CRUMBS 

Hetman was hardly so charitable as you 
thought." 

"A noble charity, upon the whole, for all 
that. See, even Gog and Magog yonder, at the 
other end of the hall fairly laugh out their de 
light at the scene." 

"But don t you think, though," hinted I, 
"that the sculptor, whoever he was, carved the 
laugh too much into a grin a sort of sardoni- 
cal grin?" 

"Well, that s as you take it, sir. But see- 
now I d wager a guinea the Lord Mayor s lady 
dipped her golden spoon into yonder golden- 
hued jelly. See, the jelly-eyed old body has 
slipped it, in one broad gulp, down his throat." 

"Peace to that jelly!" breathed I. 

"What a generous, noble, magnanimous 
charity this is ! unheard of in any country but 
England, which feeds her very beggars with 
golden-hued jellies." 

"But not three times every day, my friend. 
And do you really think that jellies are the 
best sort of relief you can furnish to beggars? 
Would not plain beef and bread, with some 
thing to do, and be paid for, be better?" 

"But plain beef and bread were not eaten 

[296] 



RICH MAN S CRUMBS 

here. Emperors, and prince-regents, and kings, 
and field marshals don t often dine on plain 
beef and bread. So the leavings are according. 
Tell me, can you expect that the crumbs of 
kings can be like the crumbs of squirrels?" 

"You! I mean you! stand aside, or else be 
served and away! Here, take this pasty, and 
be thankful that you taste of the same dish 
with her Grace the Duchess of Devonshire. 
Graceless ragamuffin, do you hear?" 

These words were bellowed at me through 
the din by a red-gowned official nigh the board. 

"Surely he does not mean me" said I to my 
guide; "he has not confounded me with the 
rest." 

"One is known by the company he keeps," 
smiled my guide. "See! not only stands your 
hat awry and bunged on your head, but your 
coat is fouled and torn. Nay," he cried to the 
red-gown, "this is an unfortunate friend; a 
simple spectator, I assure you." 

"Ah! is that you, old lad?" responded the 

red-gown, in familiar recognition of my guide 

a personal friend as it seemed; "well, convey 

your friend out forthwith. Mind the grand 

[297] 



RICH MAN S CRUMBS 

crash ; it will soon be coming ; hark ! now ! away 
with him!" 

Too late. The last dish had been seized. The 
yet unglutted mob raised a fierce yell, which 
wafted the banners like a strong gust, and 
filled the air with a reek as from sewers. They 
surged against the tables, broke through all 
barriers, and billowed over the hall their bare 
tossed arms like the dashed ribs of a wreck. 
It seemed to me as if a sudden impotent fuiy 
of fell envy possessed them. That one half- 
hour s peep at the mere remnants of the glories 
of the Banquets of Kings; the unsatisfying 
mouthfuls of disemboweled pasties, plundered 
pheasants, and half -sucked jellies, served to 
remind them of the intrinsic contempt of the 
alms. In this sudden mood, or whatever mys 
terious thing it was that now seized them, 
these Lazaruses seemed ready to spew up in 
repentant scorn the contumelious crumbs of 
Dives. 

"This way, this way! stick like a bee to my 
back," intensely whispered my guide. "My 
friend there has answered my beck, and 
thrown open yon private door for us two. 
Wedge wedge in quick, there goes your 

[298] 



RICH MAN S CRUMBS 

bunged hat never stop for your coat-tail hit 
that man strike him down! hold! jam! now! 
wrench along for your life ! ha ! here we breathe 
freely ; thank God ! You faint. Ho ! " 

"Never mind. This fresh air revives me." 

I inhaled a few more breaths of it, and felt 
ready to proceed. 

"And now conduct me, my good friend, by 
some front passage into Cheapside, forthwith. 
I must home." 

"Not by the sidewalk though. Look at your 
dress. I must get a hack for you." 

"Yes, I suppose so," said I, ruefully eyeing 
my tatters, and then glancing in envy at the 
close-buttoned coat and flat cap of my guide, 
which defied all tumblings and tearings. 

"There, now, sir," said the honest fellow, as 
he put me into the hack, and tucked in me and 
my rags, "when you get back to your own 
country, you can say you have witnessed the 
greatest of all England s noble charities. Of 
course, you will make reasonable allowances 
for the unavoidable jam. Good-by. Mind, 
Jehu" addressing the driver on the box 
"this is a gentleman you carry. He is just from 
the Guildhall Charity, which accounts for his 

[299] 



RICH MAN S CRUMBS 

appearance. Go on now. London Tavern, 
Fleet Street, remember, is the place." 

"Now, Heaven in its kind mercy save me 
from the noble charities of London," sighed I, 
as that night I lay bruised and battered on my 
bed; "and Heaven save me equally from the 
Poor Man s Pudding and the Rich Man s 
Crumbs, " 



[300] 



THE HAPPY FAILURE 

A STORY OF THE RIVER HUDSON 

THE appointment was that I should meet 
my elderly uncle at the riverside, pre 
cisely at nine in the morning. The skiff was to 
be ready, and the apparatus to be brought 
down by his grizzled old black man. As yet, the 
nature of the wonderful experiment remained 
a mystery to all but the projector. 

I was first on the spot. The village was high 
up the river, and the inland summer sun was 
already oppressively warm. Presently I saw 
my uncle advancing beneath the trees, hat 
off, and wiping his brow; while far behind 
struggled poor old Yorpy, with what seemed 
one of the gates of Gaza on his back. 

"Come, hurrah, stump along, Yorpy!" cried 
my uncle, impatiently turning round every 
now and then. 

Upon the black s staggering up to the skiff, 
I perceived that the great gate of Gaza was 
transformed into a huge, shabby, oblong box, 

[301] 



THE HAPPY FAILURE 

hermetically sealed. The sphinx-like blankness 
of the box quadrupled the mystery in my mind. 

"Is this the wonderful apparatus," said 
I in amazement. "Why, it s nothing but a 
battered old dry-goods box, nailed up. And is 
this the thing, uncle, that is to make you a 
million of dollars ere the year be out ? What a 
forlorn-looking, lack-lustre, old ash-box it is." 

"Put it into the skiff!" roared my uncle to 
Yorpy, without heeding my boyish disdain. 
"Put it in, you grizzled-headed cherub put it 
in carefully, carefully! If that box bursts, my 
everlasting fortune collapses." 

"Bursts? collapses?" cried I, in alarm. "It 
ain t full of combustibles ? Quick, let me go to 
the further end of the boat!" 

"Sit still, you simpleton!" cried my uncle 
again. "Jump in, Yorpy, and hold on to the 
box like grim death while I shove off. Care 
fully! carefully! you dunderheaded black! 
Mind t other side of the box, I say! Do you 
mean to destroy the box?" 

"Duyvel take te pox!" muttered old Yorpy, 
who was a sort of Dutch African. "De pox has 
been my cuss for de ten long ear." 

"Now, then, we re off take an oar, young- 

[302] 



THE HAPPY FAILURE 

ster ; you, Yorpy, clinch the box fast. Here we 
go now. Carefully! carefully! You, Yorpy, 
stop shaking the box ! Easy! there s a big snag. 
Pull now. Hurrah! deep water at last! Now 
give way, youngster, and away to the island." 

"The island!" said I. "There s no island 
hereabouts." 

"There is ten miles above the bridge, 
though," said my uncle, determinately. 

"Ten miles off! Pull that old dry-goods box 
ten miles up the river in this blazing sun ? " 

"All that I have to say," said my uncle, 
firmly, "is that we are bound to Quash Island." 

"Mercy, uncle! if I had known of this great 
long pull of ten mortal miles in this fiery sun, 
you wouldn t have juggled me into the skiff so 
easy. What s in that box? paving-stones? 
See how the skiff settles down under it. I won t 
help pull a box of paving-stones ten miles. 
What s the use of pulling em?" 

"Look you, simpleton," quoth my uncle, 
pausing upon his suspended oar. "Stop row 
ing, will ye! Now then, if you don t want to 
share in the glory of my experiment; if you 
are wholly indifferent to halving its immortal 
renown ; I say, sir, if you care not to be present 

[303] 



THE HAPPY FAILURE 

at the first trial of my Great Hydraulic- 
Hydrostatic Apparatus for draining swamps 
and marshes, and converting them, at the rate 
of one acre the hour, into fields more fertile 
than those of the Genesee ; if you care not, I 
repeat, to have this proud thing to tell in far 
future days, when poor old I shall have been 
long dead and gone, boy to your children and 
your children s children; in that case, sir, you 
are free to land forthwith." 

"Oh, uncle! I did not mean 

"No words, sir! Yorpy, take his oar, and 
help pull him ashore." 

"But, my dear uncle; I declare to you 
that" 

"Not a syllable, sir; you have cast open 
scorn upon the Great Hydraulic-Hydrostatic 
Apparatus. Yorpy, put him ashore, Yorpy. 
It s shallow here again. Jump out, Yorpy, and 
wade with him ashore." 

"Now, my dear, good, kind uncle, do but 
pardon me this one time, and I will say noth 
ing about the apparatus." 

"Say nothing about it ! when it is my express 
end and aim it shall be famous ! Put him ashore, 
Yorpy." 

[304] 



THE HAPPY FAILURE 

"Nay, uncle, I will not give up my oar. I 
have an oar in this matter, and I mean to keep 
it. You shall not cheat me out my share of your 
glory." 

"Ah, now there that s sensible. You may 
stay, youngster. Pull again now." 

We were all silent for a time, steadily plying 
our way. At last I ventured to break water 
once more. 

"I am glad, dear uncle, you have revealed to 
me at last the nature and end of your great 
experiment. It is the effectual draining of 
swamps; an attempt, dear uncle, in which, if 
you do but succeed (as I know you will) , you 
will earn the glory denied to a Roman em 
peror. He tried to drain the Pontine marsh, 
but failed." 

"The world has shot ahead the length of its 
own diameter since then," quoth my uncle, 
proudly. "If that Roman emperor were here, 
I d show him what can be done in the present 
enlightened age." 

Seeing my good uncle so far mollified now 
as to be quite self-complacent, I ventured an 
other remark. 

[305] 



THE HAPPY FAILURE 

"This is a rather severe, hot pull, dear 
uncle." 

"Glory is not to be gained, youngster, with 
out pulling hard for it against the stream, 
too, as we do now. The natural tendency of 
man, in the mass, is to go down with the uni 
versal current into oblivion." 

"But why pull so far, dear uncle, upon the 
present occasion? Why pull ten miles for it? 
You do but propose, as I understand it, to put 
to the actual test this admirable invention of 
yours. And could it not be tested almost any 
where?" 

"Simple boy," quoth my uncle, would you 
have some malignant spy steal from me the 
fruits of ten long years of high-hearted, per 
severing endeavor? Solitary in my scheme, I 
go to a solitary place to test it. If I fail for all 
things are possible no one out of the family 
will know it. If I succeed, secure in the secrecy 
of my invention, I can boldly demand any 
price for its publication." 

"Pardon me, dear uncle; you are wiser 
than I." 

"One would think years and gray hairs 
should bring wisdom, boy." 

[306] 



THE HAPPY FAILURE 

"Yorpy there, dear uncle; think you his 
grizzled locks thatch a brain improved by long 
life?" 

"Am I Yorpy, boy? Keep to your oar!" 

Thus padlocked again, I said no further 
word till the skiff grounded on the shallows, 
some twenty yards from the deep-wooded isle. 

"Hush!" whispered my uncle, intensely; 
"not a word now!" and he sat perfectly still, 
slowly sweeping with his glance the whole 
country around, even to both banks of the here 
wide-expanded stream. 

"Wait till that horseman, yonder, passes!" 
he whispered again, pointing to a speck mov 
ing along a lofty, riverside road, which peril 
ously wound on midway up a long line of 
broken bluffs and cliffs. "There he s out of 
sight now, behind the copse. Quick! Yorpy! 
Carefully, though! Jump overboard, and 
shoulder the box, and Hold!" 

We were all mute and motionless again. 

"Ain t that a boy, sitting like Zaccheus in 
yonder tree of the orchard on the other bank? 
Look, youngster young eyes are better than 
old don t you see him?" 

[307] 



THE HAPPY FAILURE 

"Dear uncle, I see the orchard, but I can t 
see any boy." 

"He s a spy I know he is," suddenly said 
my uncle, disregardful of my answer, and 
intently gazing, shading his eyes with his 
flattened hand. "Don t touch the box, Yorpy. 
Crouch! crouch down, all of ye!" 

"Why, uncle there see the boy is only 
a withered white bough. I see it very plainly 



now." 



"You don t see the tree I mean," quoth my 
uncle, with a decided air of relief, "but never 
mind; I defy the boy. Yorpy, jump out, and 
shoulder the box. And now then, youngster, 
off with your shoes and stockings, roll up 
your trousers legs, and follow me. Carefully, 
Yorpy, carefully. That s more precious than a 
box of gold, mind." 

"Heavy as de gelt anyhow," growled Yorpy, 
staggering and splashing in the shallows be 
neath it. 

"There, stop under the bushes there in 
among the flags so gently, gently there, 
put it down just there. Now youngster, are 
you ready? Follow tiptoes, tiptoes!" 

"I can t wade in this mud and water on my 

[308] 



THE HAPPY FAILURE 

tiptoes, uncle; and I don t see the need of it 
either." 

"Go ashore, sir instantly!" 

"Why, uncle, I am ashore." 

"Peace! follow me, and no more." 

Crouching in the water in complete secrecy, 
beneath the bushes and among the tall flags, 
my uncle now stealthily produced a hammer 
and wrench from one of his enormous pockets, 
and presently tapped the box. But the sound 
alarmed him. 

"Yorpy," he whispered, "go you off to 
the right, behind the bushes, and keep watch. 
If you see any one coming, whistle softly. 
Youngster, you do the same to the left." 

We obeyed; and presently, after consider 
able hammering and supplemental tinkering, 
my uncle s voice was heard in the utter solitude, 
loudly commanding our return. 

Again we obeyed, and now found the cover 
of the box removed. All eagerness, I peeped 
in, and saw a surprising multiplicity of con 
voluted metal pipes and syringes of all sorts 
and varieties, all sizes and calibres, inextricably 
interwreathed together in one gigantic coil. It 

[309] 



THE HAPPY FAILURE 

looked like a huge nest of anacondas and 
adders. 

"Now then, Yorpy," said my uncle, all 
animation, and flushed with the foretaste of 
glory, "do you stand this side, and be ready to 
tip when I give the word. And do you, young 
ster, stand ready to do as much for the other 
side. Mind, don t budge it the fraction of a 
barley-corn till I say the word. All depends 
on a proper adjustment." 

"No fear, uncle. I will be careful as a lady s 
tweezers." 

"I s ant life de heavy pox," growled old 
Yorpy, "till de wort pe given; no fear o dat." 

"Oh, boy," said my uncle now, upturning his 
face devotionally, while a really noble gleam 
irradiated his gray eyes, locks, and wrinkles; 
"Oh, boy! this, this is the hour which for ten 
long years has, in the prospect, sustained me 
through all my painstaking obscurity. Fame 
will be the sweeter because it comes at the last ; 
the truer, because it comes to an old man like 
me, not to a boy like you. Sustainer! I glorify 
Thee." 

He bowed over his venerable head, and as 

[310] 



THE HAPPY FAILURE 

I live something like a shower-drop somehow 
fell from my face into the shallows. 

"Tip!" 

We tipped. 

"A leetle morel" 

We tipped a little more. 

"AkeOemml" 

We tipped a leetle more. 

"Just a leetle, very leetle bit more." 

With great difficulty we tipped just a leetle, 
very leetle more. 

All this time my uncle was diligently stoop 
ing over, and striving to peep in, up, and under 
the box where the coiled anacondas and adders 
lay; but the machine being now fairly im 
mersed, the attempt was wholly vain. 

He rose erect, and waded slowly all round 
the box ; his countenance firm and reliant, but 
not a little troubled and vexed. 

It was plain something or other was going 
wrong. But as I was left in utter ignorance as 
to the mystery of the contrivance, I could not 
tell where the difficulty lay, or what was the 
proper remedy. 

Once more, still more slowly, still more 
vexedly, my uncle waded round the box, the 

[311] 



THE HAPPY FAILURE 

dissatisfaction gradually deepening, but still 
controlled, and still with hope at the bottom 
of it. 

Nothing could be more sure than that some 
anticipated effect had, as yet, failed to develop 
itself. Certain I was, too, that the water-line 
did not lower about my legs. 

"Tip it a leetle bit very leetle now." 

"Dear uncle, it is tipped already as far as it 
can be. Don t you see it rests now square on its 
bottom?" 

"You, Yorpy, take your black hoof from 
under the box!" 

This gust of passion on the part of my uncle 
made the matter seem still more dubious and 
dark. It was a bad symptom, I thought. 

"Surely you can tip it just a leetle more ! " 

"Not a hair, uncle." 

"Blast and blister the cursed box then!" 
roared my uncle, in a terrific voice, sudden as a 
squall. Running at the box, he dashed his bare 
foot into it, and with astonishing power all but 
crushed in the side. Then seizing the whole box, 
he disemboweled it of all its anacondas and 
adders, and, tearing and wrenching them, 
flung them right and left over the water. 

[312] 



THE HAPPY FAILURE 

"Hold, hold, my dear, dear uncle! do for 
heaven s sake desist. Don t destroy so, in one 
frantic moment, all your long calm years of 
devotion to one darling scheme. Hold, I con- 
jure!" 

Moved by my vehement voice and un 
controllable tears, he paused in his work of 
destruction, and stood steadfastly eyeing me, 
or rather blankly staring at me, like one de 
mented. 

"It is not yet wholly ruined, dear uncle; 
come put it together now. You have hammer 
and wrench ; put it together again, and try it 
once more. While there is life there is hope." 

"While there is life hereafter there is de 
spair 3 he howled. 

"Do, do now, dear uncle here, here, put 
those pieces together ; or, if that can t be done 
without more tools, try a section of it that 
will do just as well. Try it once ; try, uncle." 

My persistent persuasiveness told upon him. 
The stubborn stump of hope, plowed at and 
uprooted in vain, put forth one last miracu 
lous green sprout. 

Steadily and carefully pulling out of the 
wreck some of the more curious-looking frag- 

[313] 



THE HAPPY FAILURE 

ments, he mysteriously involved them together, 
and then, clearing out the box, slowly inserted 
them there, and ranging Yorpy and me as be 
fore, bade us tip the box once again. 

We did so; and as no perceptible effect yet 
followed, I was each moment looking for the 
previous command to tip the box over yet 
more, when, glancing into my uncle s face, I 
started aghast. It seemed pinched, shriveled 
into mouldy whiteness, like a mildewed grape. 
I dropped the box, and sprang tow r ard him just 
in time to prevent his fall. 

Leaving the woeful box where we had 
dropped it, Yorpy and I helped the old man 
into the skiff and silently pulled from Quash 
Isle. 

How swiftly the current now swept us 
down! How hardly before had we striven to 
stem it! I thought of my poor uncle s saying, 
not an hour gone by, about the universal drift 
of the mass of humanity toward utter oblivion. 

"Boy!" said my uncle at last, lifting his 
head. I looked at him earnestly, and was 
gladdened to see that the terrible blight of his 
face had almost departed. 

[314] 



THE HAPPY FAILURE 

"Boy, there s not much left in an old world 
for an old man to invent." 

I said nothing. 

"Boy, take my advice, and never try to in 
vent anything but happiness." 

I said nothing, 

"Boy, about ship, and pull back for the 
box." 

"Dear uncle!" 

"It will make a good wood-box, boy. And 
faithful old Yorpy can sell the old iron for 
tobacco-money." 

"Dear massa! dear old massa! dat be very 
fust time in de ten long ear yoo hab mention 
kindly old Yorpy. I tank yoo, dear old massa ; 
I tank yoo so kindly. Yoo is yourself agin in de 
ten long ear." 

"Ay, long ears enough," sighed my uncle; 
"Esopian ears. But it s all over now. Boy. I m 
glad I ve failed. I say, boy, failure has made a 
good old man of me. It was horrible at first, 
but I m glad I ve failed. Praise be to God for 
the failure!" 

His face kindled with a strange, rapt 
earnestness. I have never forgotten that look. 
If the event made my uncle a good old man 

[315] 



THE HAPPY FAILURE 

as he called it, it made me a wise young one. 
Example did for me the work of experience. 

When some years had gone by, and my dear 
old uncle began to fail, and, after peaceful 
days of autumnal content, was gathered gently 
to his fathers faithful old Yorpy closing his 
eyes as I took my last look at his venerable 
face, the pale resigned lips seemed to move. I 
seemed to hear again his deep, fervent cry 
"Praise be to God for the failure!" 



[316] 



THE GEES 



IX relating to my friends various passages 
of my sea-goings I have at times had occa 
sion to allude to that singular people the Gees, 
sometimes as casual acquaintances, sometimes 
as shipmates. Such allusions have been quite 
natural and easy. For instance, I have said 
The two Gees, just as another would say The 
two Dutchmen,, or The two Indians. In fact, 
being myself so familiar with Gees, it seemed 
as if all the rest of the world must be. But not 
so. My auditors have opened their eyes as 
much as to say, "What under the sun is a 
Gee?" To enlighten them I have repeatedly 
had to interrupt myself and not without detri 
ment to my stories. To remedy which incon 
venience, a friend hinted the advisability of 
writing out some account of the Gees, and 
having it published. Such as they are, the 
following memoranda spring from that happy 
suggestion : 

[317] 



THE GEES 

The word Gee (g hard) is an abbreviation, 
by seamen, of Portugee, the corrupt form of 
Portuguese. As the name is a curtailment, so 
the race is a residuum. Some three centuries 
ago certain Portuguese convicts were sent 
as a colony to Fogo, one of the Cape de Verdes, 
off the northwest coast of Africa, an island 
previously stocked with an aboriginal race of 
negroes, ranking pretty high in civility, but 
rather low in stature and morals. In course of 
time, from the amalgamated generation all the 
likelier sort were drafted off as food for 
powder, and the ancestors of the since-called 
Gees were left as the caput mortum, or melan 
choly remainder. 

Of all men seamen have strong prejudices, 
particularly in the matter of race. They are 
bigots here. But when a creature of inferior 
race lives among them, an inferior tar, there 
seems no bound to their disdain. Now, as ere 
long will be hinted, the Gee, though of an 
aquatic nature, does not, as regards higher 
qualifications, make the best of sailors. In 
short, by seamen the abbreviation Gee was hit 
upon in pure contumely; the degree of which 
may be partially inferred from this, that with 

[318] 



THE GEES 

them the primitive word Portugee itself is a 
reproach; so that Gee, being a subtle distilla 
tion from that word, stands, in point of relative 
intensity to it, as attar of roses does to rose- 
water. At times, when some crusty old sea-dog 
has his spleen more than unusually excited 
against some luckless blunderer of Fogo his 
shipmate, it is marvelous the prolongation of 
taunt into which he will spin out the one little 
exclamatory monosyllable Ge-e-e-e-e! 

The Isle of Fogo, that is, "Fire Isle," was so 
called from its volcano, which, after throwing 
up an infinite deal of stones and ashes, finally 
threw up business altogether, from its broad 
cast bounteousness having become bankrupt. 
But thanks to the volcano s prodigality in its 
time, the soil of Fogo is such as may be found 
on a dusty day on a road newly macadamized. 
Cut off from farms and gardens, the staple 
food of the inhabitants is fish, at catching 
which they are expert. But none the less do 
they relish ship-biscuit, which, indeed, by most 
islanders, barbarous or semi-barbarous, is held 
a sort of lozenge. 

In his best estate the Gee is rather small 
(he admits it) but, with some exceptions. 

[319] 



THE GEES 

hardy; capable of enduring extreme hard 
work, hard fare, or hard usage, as the case may 
be. In fact, upon a scientific view, there would 
seem a natural adaptability in the Gee to hard 
times generally. A theory not uncorroborated 
by his experiences; and furthermore, that 
kindly care of Nature in fitting him for them, 
something as for his hard rubs with a hardened 
world Fox the Quaker fitted himself, namely, 
in a tough leather suit from top to toe. In other 
words, the Gee is by no means of that ex 
quisitely delicate sensibility expressed by the 
figurative adjective thin-skinned. His physi 
cals and spirituals are in singular contrast. 
The Gee has a great appetite, but little 
imagination; a large eyeball, but small insight. 
Biscuit he crunches, but sentiment he eschews. 

His complexion is hybrid ; his hair ditto ; his 
mouth disproportionally large, as compared 
with his stomach ; his neck short ; but his head 
round, compact, and betokening a solid under 
standing. 

Like the negro, the Gee has a peculiar 
savor, but a different one a sort of wild, 
marine, gamey savor, as in the sea-bird called 
haglet. Like venison, his flesh is firm but lean. 

[320] 



THE GEES 

His teeth are what are called butter-teeth, 
strong, durable, square, and yellow. Among 
captains at a loss for better discourse during 
dull, rainy weather in the horse-latitudes, much 
debate has been had whether his teeth are in 
tended for carnivorous or herbivorous pur 
poses, or both conjoined. But as on his isle the 
Gee eats neither flesh nor grass, this inquiry 
would seem superfluous. 

The native dress of the Gee is, like his name, 
compendious. His head being by nature well 
thatched, he wears no hat. Wont to wade much 
in the surf, he wears no shoes. He has a service- 
ably hard heel, a kick from which is by the ju 
dicious held almost as dangerous as one from 
a wild zebra. 

Though for a long time back no stranger to 
the seafaring people of Portugal, the Gee, 
until a comparatively recent period, remained 
almost undreamed of by seafaring Americans. 
It is now some forty years since he first became 
known to certain masters of our Nantucket 
ships, who commenced the practice of touching 
at Fogo, on the outward passage, there to fill 
up vacancies among their crews arising from 
the short supply of men at home. By degrees 

[321] 



THE GEES 

the custom became pretty general, till now the 
Gee is found aboard of almost one whaler out 
of three. One reason why they are in request is 
this : An unsophisticated Gee coming on board 
a foreign ship never asks for wages. He comes 
for biscuit. He does not know what wages 
mean, unless cuffs and buffets be wages, of 
which sort he receives a liberal allowance, paid 
with great punctuality, besides perquisites of 
punches thrown in now and then. But for all 
this, some persons there are, and not unduly 
biassed by partiality to him either, who still 
insist that the Gee never gets his due. 

His docile services being thus cheaply to be 
had, some captains will go the length of main 
taining that Gee sailors are preferable, in 
deed every way, physically and intellectually, 
superior to American sailors such captains 
complaining, and justty, that American sail 
ors, if not decently treated, are apt to give 
serious trouble. 

But even by their most ardent admirers it 
is not deemed prudent to sail a ship with none 
but Gees, at least if they chance to be all green 
hands, a green Gee being of all green things 
the greenest. Besides, owing to the clumsiness 

[322] 



THE GEES 

of their feet ere improved by practice in the 
rigging, green Gees are wont, in no inconsider 
able numbers, to fall overboard the first dark, 
squally night; insomuch that when unreason 
able owners insist with a captain against his 
will upon a green Gee crew fore and aft, he 
will ship twice as many Gees as he would have 
shipped of Americans, so as to provide for all 
contingencies. 

The Gees are always ready to be shipped. 
Any day one may go to their isle, and on the 
showing of a coin of biscuit over the rail, may 
load down to the water s edge with them. 

But though any number of Gees are ever 
ready to be shipped, still it is by no means well 
to take them as they come. There is a choice 
even in Gees. 

Of course the Gee has his private nature as 
well as his public coat. To know Gees to be 
a sound judge of Gees one must study them, 
just as to know and be a judge of horses one 
must study horses. Simple as for the most part 
are both horse and Gee, in neither case can 
knowledge of the creature come by intuition. 
How unwise, then, in those ignorant young 
captains who, on their first voyage, will go and 

[323] 



THE GEES 

ship their Gees at Fogo without any prepara 
tory information, or even so much as taking 
convenient advice from a Gee jockey. By a 
Gee jockey is meant a man well versed in 
Gees. Many a young captain has been thrown 
and badly hurt by a Gee of his own choosing. 
For notwithstanding the general docility of 
the Gee when green, it may be otherwise with 
him when ripe. Discreet captains won t have 
such a Gee. "Away with that ripe Gee!" they 
cry; "that smart Gee; that knowing Gee! 
Green Gees for me!" 

For the benefit of inexperienced captains 
about to visit Fogo, the following may be given 
as the best way to test a Gee: Get square be 
fore him, at, say three paces, so that the eye, 
like a shot, may rake the Gee fore and aft, at 
one glance taking in his whole make and build 
how he looks about the head, whether he 
carry it well; his ears, are they over-lengthy? 
How fares it in the withers? His legs, does the 
Gee stand strongly on them? His knees, any 
Belshazzar symptoms there? How stands it in 
the regions of the brisket, etc., etc. 

Thus far bone and bottom. For the rest, 
draw close to, and put the centre of the pupil 

[324] 



THE GEES 

of your eye put it, as it were, right into the 
Gee s eye even as an eye-stone, gently, but 
firmly slip it in there, and then note what speck 
or beam of viciousness, if any, will be floated 
out. 

All this and more must be done; and yet 
after all, the best judge may be deceived. But 
on no account should the shipper negotiate for 
his Gee with any middle-man, himself a Gee. 
Because such an one must be a knowing Gee, 
who will be sure to advise the green Gee what 
things to hide and what to display, to hit the 
skipper s fancy ; which, of course, the knowing 
Gee supposes to lean toward as much physical 
and moral excellence as possible. The rashness 
of trusting to one of these middle-men was 
forcibly shown in the case of the Gee who by 
his countrymen was recommended to a New 
Bedford captain as one of the most agile Gees 
in Fogo. There he stood straight and stout, in 
a flowing pair of man-of-war s-man trousers, 
uncommonly well fitted out. True, he did not 
step around much at the time. But that was 
diffidence. Good. They shipped him. But at 
the first taking in of sail the Gee hung fire. 
Come to look, both trousers-legs were full of 

[325] 



THE GEES 

elephantiasis. It was a long sperm-whaling 
voyage. Useless as so much lumber, at every 
port prohibited from being dumped ashore, 
that elephantine Gee, ever crunching biscuit, 
for three weary years was trundled round the 
globe. 

Grown wise by several similar experiences, 
old Captain Hosea Kean, of Nantucket, in 
shipping a Gee, at present manages matters 
thus : He lands at Fogo in the night ; by secret 
means gains information where the likeliest 
Gee wanting to ship lodges; whereupon with 
a strong party he surprises all the friends and 
acquaintances of that Gee; putting them 
under guard with pistols at their heads ; then 
creeps cautiously toward the Gee, now lying 
wholly unawares in his hut, quite relaxed from 
all possibility of displaying aught deceptive in 
his appearance. Thus silently, thus suddenly, 
thus unannounced, Captain Kean bursts upon 
his Gee, so to speak, in the very bosom of his 
family. By this means, more than once, unex 
pected revelations have been made. A Gee, 
noised abroad for a Hercules in strength and 
an Apollo Belvidere for beauty, of a sudden 
is discovered all in a wretched heap ; f orlomly 

[ 326 ] 



THE GEES 

adroop as upon crutches, his legs looking as if 
broken at the cart-wheel. Solitude is the house 
of candor, according to Captain Kean. In the 
stall, not the street, he says, resides the real 
nag. 

The innate disdain of regularly bred sea 
men toward Gees receives an added edge from 
this. The Gees undersell them working for 
biscuit where the sailors demand dollars. 
Hence anything said by sailors to the preju 
dice of Gees should be received with caution. 
Especially that jeer of theirs, that monkey- 
jacket was originally so called from the cir 
cumstance that that rude sort of shaggy gar 
ment was first known in Fogo. They often call 
a monkey-jacket a Gee- jacket. However this 
may be, there is no call to which the Gee will 
with more alacrity respond thato the word 
"Man!" 

Is there any hard work to be done, and the 
Gees stand round in sulks? "Here, my men!" 
cries the mate. How they jump. But ten to 
one when the work is done, it is plain Gee 
again. "Here, Gee you Ge-e-e-e!" In fact, it 
is not unsurmised, that only when extraordi 
nary stimulus is needed, only when an extra 

[327] 



THE GEES 

strain is to be got out of them, are these hapless 
Gees ennobled with the human name. 

As yet, the intellect of the Gee has been 
little cultivated. No well-attested educational 
experiment has been tried upon him. It is said, 
however, that in the last century a young Gee 
was by a visionary Portuguese naval officer 
sent to Salamanca University. Also, among 
the Quakers of Nantucket, there has been talk 
of sending five comely Gees, aged sixteen, to 
Dartmouth College; that venerable institu 
tion, as is well known, having been originally 
founded partly with the object of finishing off 
wild Indians in the classics and higher mathe 
matics. Two qualities of the Gee which, with 
his docility, may be justly regarded as furnish 
ing a hopeful basis for his intellectual training, 
is his excellent memory, and still more ex 
cellent credulity. 

The above account may, perhaps, among the 
ethnologists, raise some curiosity to see a Gee. 
But to see a Gee there is no need to go all the 
way to Fogo, no more than to see a Chinaman 
to go all the way to China. Gees are occasion 
ally to be encountered in our seaports, but 
more particularly in Nantucket and New Bed- 

[328] 



THE GEES 

ford. But these Gees are not the Gees of 
Fogo. That is, they are no longer green Gees. 
They are sophisticated Gees, and hence liable 
to be taken for naturalized citizens badly sun 
burnt. Many a Chinaman, in a new coat and 
pantaloons, his long queue coiled out of sight 
in one of Genin s hats, has promenaded Broad 
way, and been taken merely for an eccentric 
Georgia planter. The same with Gees; a 
stranger need have a sharp eye to know a Gee, 
even if he see him. 

Thus much for a general sketchy view of the 
Gee. For further and fuller information apply 
to any sharp-witted American whaling cap 
tain but more especially to the before-men 
tioned old Captain Hosea Kean, of Nantucket, 
whose address at present is "Pacific Ocean." 



[329] 



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